We’ve all heard quotes such as “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” or “Sleep is for the weak”
So, is ‘sleep is for the weak’ or is it a MYTH?
New science shows that sleep is essential to our mental and physical health — and most of us aren’t getting enough.
In fact, sleep is one of the most overlooked and one of the most important aspects of overeating.
Many people have become so accustomed to sleep deprivation that they don’t even realise the impact this has on their eating habits.
Most Busy Women Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is your body’s time to restore and repair, but most busy women are not getting enough shuteye these days.
With sleep being one of the first things to go when we get busy.
- Being busy all the time triggers a stress response
- When you experiencing high levels of stress your sleep cycle is affected
How often do you get good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed?
Multiple current scientific studies suggest that you will be likely to react emotionally rather than choose a deliberate response to emotional situations.
So, if your goal is to stop the comfort eating, meaning not reaching for chocolate when you are feeling tired or down, a lack of sleep is going to make it a lot harder to be successful.
Sleep Plays A Vital Role
Could you lose weight by sleeping?
When it comes to our metabolic health, sleep plays a vital role. At the same time, our food choices also have a big impact on how we sleep — or don’t.
It’s obvious enough that our food choices influence our digestive and metabolic health.
What may be less obvious – is the impact of sleep.
Sleep also affects digestion and metabolism, and getting enough sleep is essential to weight maintenance and preventing chronic diseases.
Our eating habits have can make or break our sleep -and our sleeping patterns can make or break our eating habits.
This Is What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Shuteye
Your prefrontal cortex is the center for decision making and is affected by sleep deprivation leaving you vulnerable to emotional eating.
And this is how it affects your eating habits
- Sleep deprivation can throw appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin out of balance, which can leave you extra hungry and reaching for junk food.
- You react emotionally and your ability to make deliberate choices is reduced
- You are a lot less likely to pause, think, and choose your response
- You are more likely to crave carbs and fatty foods
- Affects your mood, you may feel depressed which can make you more likely to crave and choose sugary foods
- You will have less stamina and you will be unlikely to last through the day without turning to stimulants like coffee
- Increased food intake as a result of insufficient sleep is a physiological adaptation to provide the energy needed to sustain longer hours awake
And here is something else to chew on…
The Link Between Sleep and Emotional Eating
People who are sleep deprived often experience one or more of the following:
- They have stronger cravings to eat between dinner and bedtime.
- They report increased cravings for highly processed and highly palatable foods.
- They find their cravings “impossible” to resist when fatigued.
Sleep Deprivation Test
The following test is a rendition of The Maas Robbins Alertness Questionnaire, developed by sleep expert James B. Maas, PhD, a pioneer of sleep research and a recently retired professor at Cornell University.
Please indicate “Yes” or “No” for the following statements.
- I often a struggle to get out of bed in the morning
- I often feel tired and stressed out during the week
- I often feel irritable and moody and get upset over little things.
- I often have trouble concentrating and remembering.
- I often feel fuzzy and slow with problem solving and being creative.
- I need caffeine to get going in the morning and more in the afternoon
- I often fall asleep watching TV
- I often wake up craving junk food, sugar and carbohydrates
- I often crave junk food, sugar and carbohydrates in the afternoons
- I often feel drowsy while driving.
- I rely on energy drinks or over-the-counter medications to keep me awake.
- I often sleep extra hours on the weekends.
If you answered “Yes” to four or more of these statements, you may be seriously sleep-deprived.
Hungry for Sleep?
Try these three ways to sleep more – weigh less and get your energy back!
The good news sleep is a behaviour and like any other behaviour can be learned and modified.
1. Set sleep and wake times
- First decide the time that you will go to sleep and wake up each day and stick to these times even if you do not sleep well.
- Choosing to sleep in later on the weekends — to catch up on sleep — will only disrupt your sleep cycle further.
- Try to keep sleep and wake times consistent within the hour, even on weekends.
- Be consistent with all the above
Be patient. It can take time to create good sleep habits and reset your circadian rhythms (body clock).
Over time, if you are consistent with your good sleep habits, you should have fewer sleepless nights.
2.Understand how sleep affects your mood
Improving your sleep habits is important because it could help to improve your mental health and your mood.
And with 85 percent of emotional eaters also struggling with a comorbid mood or anxiety disorder, sleep should be a high priority.
Focusing on improving the quality of your sleep will lead to less negative affect, more resilience and better coping with life’s stressors.
3. Adjust your morning behaviours
When trying to improve their sleep, most people tend to focus on their night-time routines only.
What you do in the morning upon awakening is also crucial to improving sleep.
Here are some tips:
- Set your alarm
- Get out of bed immediately after your alarm wakes you up
- You may choose to have a small dose of caffeine
- Expose yourself to bright light or day light (you may even choose to go outside)
- Start moving, walk outside and move briefly to get the body feeling more “awake.”
Remember: even if you feel tired from poor sleep the night before, pressing “snooze” button will return you to a shallow sleep state that will leave you even less refreshed and feeling worse in the morning and throughout the day.
And finally pausing several times during the day and reframing your thoughts will allow you to see what is going on and give you the opportunity to address it!
Trust yourself and be open to what might be possible.
Now it’s over to you…
- How does your sleep habit affect your eating habits?
If you feel ready to change your sleep and eating habits book a free 30-minute-coaching session with me. I’ll show you how to live the LIFE you deserve, looking amazing and feeling confident.
It’s free. And it might change your life.
Food & Mood Coach