The Importance of Healthy Sleep Hygiene for Weight Management.
Go to bed sleepy head. Good night, don’t let the bed bugs bite. Sweet dreams. However, you want to say it, getting yourself a decent night’s rest is imperative for good health and wellbeing.
Sleep is a well-documented sidekick to reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, boost cognitive function, enhance memory and lower stress levels. But, did you know that sleep is also beneficial for helping to keep you trim and terrific?
According to Holistic Nutritionist, Kelly LeVeque, a healthy sleep routine helps to block hunger hormones that take over decision-making when you lack sleep. According to research by Kelly, there are several influences on our brain activity while we sleep.
- Circadian Rhythm
More commonly referred to as your ‘body clock’, the circadian rhythm keeps your physical, mental and behavioural changes in check throughout the day. It reacts to environmental changes of light and dark, and our brains, hormone production, important cell regeneration and other factors are interconnected with these cycles of light.
- Circadian Rhythm Disorders
These sleep disorders affect the timing for people and their ability to go to bed and wake up at the required times needed for work and other activities. Some cases for this could include being pregnant, shift work, staying up later than usual, or some health disorders and illnesses. The disruption of sleep as a result of these disorders have been associated with depression, insomnia, Type 2 diabetes, fatigue or feeling flat, cancer, and weight gain.
- Circadian Rhythm Interferences
A big impactor for disruption of circadian rhythm is the light associated with those little devices often glued to our palms or that you cannot peel your eyes from – mobile phones, tablets and computer screens. The light omitted from these devices are not that beneficial before resting your head as they can pump up your attention and mood, often having a negative impact on sleep due to the impact on melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that is located above the middle of your brain. It is inactive during the day, however when the sun shrinks from the sky and the moon comes out to dance, our bodies start to produce it. When melatonin is released into the bloodstream, we start to get that sleepy feeling and feel less alert. The levels of this hormone are at peak for about 12 hours until the sun is shining on our faces again when they drop back to almost non-detectable around 9 am.
By continuing your screen activity (with light waves seeping through to your brain), you are in fact prohibiting the correct production of melatonin, which in turn interferes with your sleep.
- Increased Light Time and a Reduction of Melatonin
As well as keeping us stimulated and impacting on melatonin production, the blue light that is omitted from screens has an effect on insulin sensitivity and gaining of weight. There is some evidential research with mice (from the study of circadian rhythm) that outlined the little guys’ eating patterns affected by light. The more light they were exposed to resulted in a lesser sensitivity to insulin, ensuring more eating and a lower metabolic rate. They became better at keeping the fat in stored supply, and as a consequence, an almost immediate weight gain.
Following are our quick tips on what you could do to optimise your sleep routine:
- Get some blue light blocking amber lenses for night time screen viewing and work.
- Dim the screen brightness or check out the options on your phone for night shift variables.
- Try to align your sleep with the sun and be consistent with your times. Early to bed, early to rise!
- For extra weight management, skip the carbs at dinner time. This will help with your blood sugar and keeping fat storage to a minimum.
To help with getting a good night’s rest, try our Bondi Snooze tea, soft and sleepy tea blend as a nightcap. You’ll be kicking the tossing and turning in no time.