Better sleep for better losses – bariatric edition

Better Sleep = Better Weight Loss
Are you one of the millions of people who struggle with getting sufficient sleep ?  Are you also struggling to reach your weight loss goals ? These two situations share a strong association and the research suggests that if you improve one, you will have a beneficial effect on the other.
Getting a good night sleep is probably the best free medicine in the world.  You need to get serious about your sleep and your sleep routine if you want to maximize the losses on your scale.  Our body needs to be relaxed and ready to fall asleep at bedtime and not stimulated by iPads and smartphones and TV screens.  Our body needs to concentrate on getting good quality sleep when asleep and not on digestion of foods we have eaten at bedtime.
Sleep and weight loss is closely related.  We know that if we have poor sleep, we will make poor food choices and if we make poor food choices, our sleep will be affected.  If we sleep each day at the same time and wake up at the same time, we will have a healthier BMI.
Sleep plays such an important role in excellent health throughout our entire lifespan.  It is underrated and one of the most important functions that we perform on a daily basis. Sleep gives our bodies a chance to heal and rest and get ready for the next day ahead.  Sometimes we work so hard on the other areas of our health that we forget to pay sufficient attention to one of the most important aspects of good health – good sleep.
When we are sleep deprived our body makes additional ghrelin.  If we don’t get sufficient sleep, leptin levels drop – which then signals to your brain that you need to eat more food.  Do the math – it’s no surprise that when we are sleep deprived, we tend to overeat.  If we don’t sleep enough (under 7 hours per night), it can undo and reduce the benefits of our healthy diet.
Exactly how do you feel when you wake up and you have had a bad night of sleep ?  Are you feeling dazed ?  exhausted ? and even confused ?  Are you in a bad mood ?  not only does your brain feel the effects, your fat cells also feel the effects.  When your body is experiencing sleep deprivation, you have what is considered metabolic grogginess.  Just a few nights of poor sleep and you are in sleep debt.  With only 4 days of sleep debt your body has to work harder to use insulin properly (this is the master storage hormone).  Insulin sensitivity can drop by over 30%.  And why is this so bad ?  if your insulin is working as it should, then fat cells are going to remove fatty acids and lipids from the blood stream and will prevent storage.  If you are more insulin resistant, then the lipids circulate in the blood and more insulin is pumped out.  Extra insulin stores fat in the wrong areas such as in tissues like your liver.
Prioritize your sleep – aim for  7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.  It might seem like basic information but this is the information that could make a much bigger difference over any other health decision you make.
  • Maintain a regular sleep routine.
  • Avoid naps if possible.
  • Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 10-15 minutes.
  • Don’t watch TV or read in bed.
  • Drink caffeinated drinks with caution.
  • Exercise.
  • Have a dark, quite, and comfortable place to sleep.
Start Small.  Making little changes can have a very big impact on your sleep quality.  Don’t try to make all the changes at once and instead pick two things or strategies and try to implement them.  The goal is to slowly begin increasing the behaviors which will lead to better sleep.  Hang in there and stick with it.
Get your ZZZ’s.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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