Get More Sleep and Lose Weight


Get More Sleep and Lose Weight

by Australian strength coach Gary Matthews
What if I told you that when you are tired your adrenal glands are stressed and your kidneys will retain fluid and you will appear puffy. It's true, but when the body is rested your organs will function more effectively and you will look better and appear thinner.

When we are tired we tend to take in more sugar, caffeine and refined carbohydrates to give you an energy boost all of which can put on extra weight. If you want to lose that excess weight try to get the right amount of sleep each night. Latest Research indicates a strong link between lack of sleep and increased weight and this may be just as crucial to shedding excess pounds as diet and regular exercise.

The average adult needs eight hours sleep a night, which means approx 9 hours in bed. People who sleep less than that have a 45% greater risk of being overweight and those who sleep less than four hours have a 75% chance of being overweight.

The research also shows that as childhood obesity has soared from 5% to 30% over the last 30 years has something to do with why children are now sleeping two hours less per night. The point is that if you want to lose weight, you will have to try to get more sleep. Go to bed early whenever possible and sleep late whenever you can.

Here are some other reasons why you should sleep more:

* Insufficient sleep has been linked with increases in fat tissue in the body and a loss of muscle strength and muscle mass.

* Lack of sleep causes a decrease in bone density, particularly in women because it can lead to osteoporosis. Good sleep is as important as a service is for your car. It recharges your batteries, changes your oil and tops up your fluids so you can operate at peak function.

If you're having trouble sleeping, it might just be that you are lacking certain vital nutrients in your diet, leaving you feeling depressed or anxious and causing you to wake during the night unable to return to sleep.

Try and include the following foods in your diet for a better nights sleep:

Cereals: Unprocessed cereals contain starch and complex carbohydrate to fuel energy reserves and give a comfortably full feeling. Starch is known to greatly increase production of the endorphin serotonin, which is the body's natural feel good drug. It acts to control moods, reduce anxiety and promote normal sleeping patterns. Try a bowl of cereal just before bedtime; bread is also a good choice.

Oats: The oat flakes from which porridge is made are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which is needed to promote serotonin levels in the brain. Alkaloids in the grains can also have a relaxing effect.

Tuna: Tuna and other oily fish are an excellent source of calcium, a lack of which is said to cause anxiety. So increasing the intake of these in the diet may well relieve stress-induced insomnia. Oily fish is also an excellent source of Omega 3 oils, which are essential for general health.

Pasta: A good source of protein for those who are lacking this nutrient and its endorphin-stimulating amino acids. Pasta has a very low salt content, and is low in fat. It's rich source of complex carbohydrates to fill you up and because it releases energy slowly, helps you feel pleasantly calm. A perfect food choice for relaxation before bedtime.

Bananas: Bananas are a rich source of potassium, a vital mineral for nerve function and a lack of which can cause you to feel depressed and in turn lead to insomnia. Bananas also have plenty of serotonin stimulating starchy carbohydrate to relax you and are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, also needed for the production of serotonin.

Nuts: Nuts are rich in B vitamins, proteins and selenium. Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium. Nuts are also high in protein, a lack of which can cause anxiety and depression. They contain both amino acids tryptophan and L-phenylalanine, which helps the body to produce those relaxing endorphins.

Strawberries: A source of vitamin C, which helps to produce endorphins and a good source of potassium, a lack of which can cause stress. The red colour is due to a flavonoid, which seem to function as a biological response modifier or in other words they can change your mood for the better and help you relax.

In conclusion a lack of sleep changes your hormone levels and capacity to metabolise carbohydrates so less sleep = slower metabolism. Studies have revealed that deep sleep causes cell repair and cell growth, which will speed up the metabolism and burn calories. So aim to get at least eight hours sleep a night and lose that weight.