Research proves that lack of sleep leads to weigh gain. We reveal the 5 reasons why.

I’m exhausted and haven’t been posting for a couple of weeks. I’ve hit a wall in everything but the day-to-day things with work and getting stuff done around the house. I had a great long weekend and was incredibly productive getting work done in the garden, cleaning the house, and relaxing with friends, but I’ve completely lapsed with any kind of physical activity. I’m hoping to turn a corner this week…. starting with a little beauty sleep 🙂

I took this from Micah LaCerte’s HitchFit.com newsletter and it really speaks to me… especially today:

Everyone has heard the term “beauty sleep.”  But is it all just a myth?  Can you really look more “beautiful” by sleeping more?  As a matter of fact, yes.  Getting more sleep has been proven to help men and women everywhere lose weight and look younger.

In a 7-year study of 7,022 middle-aged people, Finnish researchers found that women who reported sleep problems were more likely to experience a major weight gain (defined as 11 pounds or more!).  But why does this happen…and more importantly, how can you avoid it?

When you sleep less you will…

  • Burn less fat: Lack of sleep actually makes our bodies burn less fat during the day.  When you don’t sleep as much, you do not have the same amount of energy expenditure (the calories you burn by just being).
  • Eat more often: In research conducted by the American Heart Association, women who got only 4 hours of sleep a night ate 329 calories more the next day than women who slept 9 hours.  Not only do you have more time to eat, but you also are more prone to do some late-night snacking when you do not go to bed at an appropriate hour.
  • Crave more: Sleep greatly impacts your hormone levels.  Insufficient sleep raises the levels of ghrelin (the hormone that tells you went to eat!).  When you sleep less, you’ll eat more—it’s just how our bodies function!
  • Hang on to more fat: Lack of sleep actually affects the kind of weight you lose.  The more sleep you get, the more fat you will lose (not just pounds!).

How can you bring out your inner-Sleeping Beauty?  We have 5 awesome tips to whip you into the shape of your life and help you catch up on sleep at the same time.

1)      Wear yourself out!

Obviously, one of our favorite ways to get a good amount of sleep is to tire yourself out before the end of the day.  How?  Go on a run, lift weights, take the stairs at work or take the dog on an intense walk.  Burn off that extra energy you have before you go to sleep and you’ll be zonked out in no time.

2)      Create a sleeping environment

When the TV is blaring, the windows are open and you’re not under your covers, you are less likely to fall asleep.  Set the right environment for sleep.  Try to limit your bedroom activities to sleeping—don’t get on your computer in bed, don’t turn on the TV, don’t sort the mail.  Hang dark curtains to keep sunlight out.  Keep it cool and quiet.

3)      Keep the TV off

Many of us are in the habit of watching TV before we go to bed.  TV is bright and sometimes wakes us up more than helps us fall asleep.  Instead of turning on the tube, do some crunches, read a few chapters of a book or journal before going to bed.

4)      Find your routine (and stick to it!)

Be firm with your sleeping routine.  Try giving yourself a set schedule (be in bed by 10:00, lights out by 10:30, wake up by 7:00).  To start falling asleep earlier, try putting yourself to bed a half hour earlier every week.

5)      Wake up earlier

Oh the dreadful buzz of the alarm.  Yes, it would be nice to snooze an extra 30 minutes…or you could get up and get your day started.  The earlier you wake up, the faster you’ll fall asleep that evening.  It’s all about discipline, people!

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