Sleep Your Way Slim

Strange as it may sound, getting a good night's sleep every night has a huge effect on your weight. That's right -- quality sleep has a bearing both on your body's tendency to resist weight gain and your ability to stick to a weight loss plan. So you really do need to develop good sleep patterns to achieve the slimness you're looking for.
And this isn't just some out-there idea. Studies looking at the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and hours of sleep have found that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night are likely to have a higher BMI than those who sleep more. With people who sleep less than 6 hours the BMI goes up again, and with less than 5 hours sleep it's even higher!
One reason is that being tired during the day affects your eating habits. Not only can you misinterpret lack of sleep for hunger, but you're also more likely to make poor decisions about your food choices. You know how easy it is, when you're not feeling on top of things, to reach for the nearest donut that comes your way.
Bad sleeping patterns play havoc with your metabolism too. You'll know this only too well if you're up all night with a young baby, or have to work shifts, or your sleep is poor for any other reason.
Obviously, some of these things (like having a baby) can't be changed, and in the shorter term that's not such a problem. You'll just have to go through that phase in your life -- we can all deal with bad sleep for a short while. But if, like doing shift work, you're stuck in this pattern for a long period of time, you should seriously consider how you can change this -- as in changing your job.
And by the way, being overweight can in itself lead to poor sleep. This might be because your weight makes you snore heavily, or feel uncomfortable, or because your metabolism isn't functioning well. So there's a vicious circle going on whereby being overweight leads to bad sleep, which leads to being overweight, and so on.
I'm sure you know, low-grade sleep is bad for your health overall. It leads to lack of concentration, mood swings, feeling out of control, and lack of ability to make decisions. And this is also going to affect the people around you, including your loved ones and co-workers. If, on top of this you're overweight, and likely depressed by that, it'll affect your relationships even more.
So if your poor sleep isn't because of a particular lifestyle but is simply due to the fact you find it hard to sleep period, you'll have to start looking at ways you can deal with it. Clearly there are various sleeping pills you can get either from the doctor or over the counter. But these are generally addictive and don't provide a long term solution.
A natural relaxant which calms your mind to prepare it for sleep is Valerian root. This isn't addictive and can be taken reasonably regularly. You can get it in tablet or tea form -- though the tea doesn't taste too great. However, a word of caution: Valerian does produce side effects in some people. Headaches, nausea and upset stomach can occur, so you may be one of the unlucky ones who can't use it.
Camomile tea is another remedy for poor sleep that some people swear by. And there are a whole host of sleep-inducing hypnosis audios on the market, which can be extremely effective. In the end, you'll have to do a bit of searching around to find the method or combination of methods that work for you.
But if you're serious about losing weight and you know your sleep patterns aren't too good, you really will have to face up to this aspect of your weight loss plan. If you don't, you're just sabotaging your efforts.


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