Shawn Stevenson, author of “Sleep Smarter”, Podcast host for the Model Health Show and Public Speaker, speaks on the importance of sleep very often and has been a personal favorite of mine for the last couple years. Outside of YoFiT, I spend a lot of time traveling to and from Los Angeles. You can only listen to so much music before you’re convinced you’ve listened to everything, so turning to podcasts was the best thing for me. The Model Health Show was something I always listened to, and ever since I started, the importance of sleep has really resonated with me. My friends call me a “Grandma” for consistently being in my bed by 9pm, but little do they know that going to bed earlier is actually improving my overall health and wellbeing!
As many of us know, 8-9 hours of sleep is ideal, but most of us are not getting close to that much. In young adults, it is especially important to be getting close to 10 hours. So, what is the problem? Why can’t we get to sleep easier and earlier? According to Harvard’s Women’s Health, lack of sleep can be caused by many different reasons; sleep apnea, diet, lack of exercise, depression, stress and just overall poor sleep habits. Publishing, Harvard Health. “8 Reasons Why You’re Not Sleeping.” Harvard Health, Feb. 2014. This article offers many solutions to why we lack sleep and how to overcome our lack of sleep, but what I’ve found to be the most interesting is the importance when you exercise. “ Exercise every day if you can, ideally in the morning. Doing a high-energy aerobic routine too close to bedtime can have the opposite of the intended effect, making you too energized to sleep. A gentle yoga stretch before bed probably won’t hurt, though. It might even help you relax.” Put simply, the endorphins released during your workout may stimulate your brain and make it harder for you to fall asleep. My recommendation: Try working out at the start of your day, before you study or before going to work, to ensure the most efficient day!
If you are looking for something to help you relax before bed, YoFiT offers a great restorative yoga class that will teach you gentle poses which you can incorporate into your nightly bed-time routine.
Blue Light Glasses
Have you ever heard of blue light glasses? If not, no worries! Here is a short explanation from the Sleep Foundation…
“Light in our environment dwindles, the hormone melatonin begins to rise and body temperature falls—both of which help us to become less alert and more likely to welcome sleep.”
In other words, even when your eyes can’t see the light, your body can recognize that there is light, and this light affects your quality of sleep. Blue light reading glasses are great when all the lights are off and you are finished with your social media scrolls. Then, when you’re ready to go to bed, your body will be able to wind down much easier.
Negative Effect on Weightloss Journey
Did you know that sleep can have a negative effect on your weightloss journey? There is a direct correlation between quality sleep and efficient brain function!
When your brain isn’t given the proper fuel and rest, it won’t be able to perform at its highest potential. (Hint hint, just like your body when it comes to fitness.) This leads to a ripple effect throughout the body. Things such as hunger cues aren’t accurate due to your low energy which is caused by your lack of sleep. This most often results in you snacking or eating more than you normally would. You are already low on energy and now you are lethargic from snacking. The University of Chicago conducted a study to understand this correlation and more specifically to understand the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, which is considered a key player in the brain’s regulation of appetite and energy levels. “When sleep-deprived, they consumed more and unhealthier snacks in between meals. This is when eCB levels were at their highest, suggesting that eCBs were driving hedonic, or pleasurable, eating.“ Hicklin, Tianna. “Molecular Ties between Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13 July 2016
To my night owls, take care and get some sleep!
With light and love,