Just a quick post today about something that often gets over looked when on a weight loss journey… SLEEP!
I always considered myself to be quite a good sleeper. Id normally get that recommended eight hours sleep per night. But, about eight months ago my son Max was born and that sleeping pattern changed a bit. Actually, a lot!
After Max was born my sleeping time was reduced to about 6-7 hours of broken up sleep. To be honest I felt ok with this amount of sleep at first but it started to catch up with me and after a couple of weeks I noticed that my weight loss had slowed down.
Leading up to Max’s birth I was on a detox because I wanted to be in good shape when he arrived. I wanted to look good in those first baby photos (I know I’m a bit vein haha).
Anyway like I said, my weight loss had slowed down, but I hadn’t changed my eating habits, in fact they were probably better after he was born, and my training was constantly progressing. I couldn’t put my finger on why I stopped losing weight.
Until about 3 or 4 weeks after Max was born, when I was on my to a personal training session in Boldon. I was listening to BBC radio Newcastle in the car and they had a doctor on the show answering questions about sleep. I was listening carefully because I thought I might be able to get a few tips on how to get Max into better sleeping patterns.
They didnt speak about sleeping patterns for babies but what they did talk about changed my own sleeping patterns and it had a HUGE affect on my weight loss! Keep reading…
There were loads of callers on the show firing questions at the doctor (I can’t remember his name) and he was giving out lots of very good tips! I thought that I would try a few of who them to see if I could improve my sleeping.
This is what I done to change my routine and I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t get a good night sleep…
1. Get into a routine of going to bed at the same time every night. The human body is a very good adapter, it will adapt to change quite quickly, whether its with exercise, nutrition, sleep etc. If you get into a routine of going to bed at the same time every night your body will adapt and become used to that routine. So, let’s say you make your bed time 10pm, after a few weeks your body will adapt and automatically relate bed time to 10pm.
I used to go to bed at different times every night, sometimes 9 o’clock, sometimes 10 o’clock, sometimes after midnight. My body never knew when to shut down. I tried this technique – I set myself a target of going to bed at 10pm every night. It was hard at first, sometimes I had to really battle with myself to go to bed when I wasn’t tired. But it definitely paid off. Now when it gets to 10pm my body automatically starts to unwind and relax and I know its time for bed.
Here’s a quick scenario for you…
What happens when a new baby is born? What do most people tell you to do straight away? Get the baby into a sleeping pattern, right?
You get the baby into a routine as early as possible, don’t you? with Max we bath him at 6:30 every night, read him a story, do a little bit of baby massage (he loves it, he almost lies back with his hands behind his head), give him his bottle and hes in bed by 7:00-7:15 every night. He now sleeps like a baby (excuse the pun) from 7:30pm-7am!
Why should adults be any different? We all need a good sleeping pattern. I’m not saying you need a massage and a bottle every night but getting into going to bed at the same time every night can really help. Give it a go!
2. Read a book in bed. This was a big one for me. I HATE READING!!! I would rather watch TV or listen to music any day than read a book. I find it really boring. But after listening to the doctor on the radio I decided to give it a go.
See, when you open a book and start reading, it focuses your attention on one thing. You get engrossed in the book and your attention is solely in one place. You don’t think about anything else other than that book. Within no time your body starts to unwind and relax and your eye lids start to feel heavy.
Sometimes you may even fall asleep with the book in your hands. It normally only takes me about 20 minutes before I’m feeling really sleepy!
Give this a go, it really works. You can read anything, auto biographies, fiction, self help books etc etc. I’m not a big fiction fan so at the moment Im reading ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen R Covey. It’s a really good book, Id really recommend it!
3. Don’t eat just before bed, try to leave at least an hour or two if possible.
When you relax and unwind and get ready for sleeping, your body wants to shut down and do 1 thing… SLEEP!
If you eat just before bed, your body needs to do 2 things, digest the food you have just eaten and try relax/unwind. Your body cannot totally shut down, it needs to go to work on digesting!
So let your body have a break and let it switch off at bed time. Try to eat your last meal or snack at least an hour before bed.
So, there’s the three things that I changed to improve my sleeping patterns but I guess you are wondering how that affects weight loss?
Well, it’s down to hormones when we sleep. In fact two specific hormones called ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.
Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.
More ghrelin + less leptin = weight gain.
You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived!
Go ahead and give these three techniques a chance to work and see if it makes a difference in your weight loss journey.
Thanks for your time reading my post today. Keep checking for my next post about ‘wheat and gluten and how I ended up with a puffy face!’