Have you ever had a shitty nights sleep? Because I have. I have had nights where I can’t get comfortable, and I toss and turn. I have had nights where I close my eyes and I swear to you, I am wide awake the entire night. When sleep is restricted, leptin levels go down and ghrelin levels go up, and so the appetite increases, and so does the desire for high carbohydrates, and calorie dense foods.
Mental health and sleep habits have a huge influence on neurotransmitters and hormones. Neurotransmitters and hormones are also involved in weight regulation, and when you are stressed, which is a result of not sleeping very well (which is also the result of being stressed), you pump out the hormone cortisol. Coincidentally, cortisol, increases appetite.
Interestingly enough, people have the idea that sleeping through the night without waking up is the norm. The truth is, without sleep aids it is actually not. You will know this if you have kids, children wake up through the night and if they don't have the ability to self-soothe to get themselves back to sleep, they will cry and/or come and get you.
I was at the office the other day and the conversation was pretty much unanimous in the fact that everyone had the tendency to wake up at about three in the morning. Most, discussed their need to go to the bathroom, which is of course one of the representative symptoms of aging, as the bladder can no longer make it throughout the night, but also, it can be indicative of hormonal changes, in which the body becomes heated and needs to be continually cooled down. Hormonal changes can be representative of ‘blankets on, blankets off, blankets on, blankets off, sheet on, too cool, add blanket, too hot, blankets off’.
The suggestion is, that if you are able to wake up with your bodies natural rhythm, then you are getting enough sleep, and if you feel sluggish after sleeping then you are either getting too much sleep, or, you have sleep apnea, which means you stop breathing throughout the night and you are not feeding your brain with oxygen.
The truth is, there is no standard amount of sleep that you need each night, because the need for sleep is based on how much energy you are extolling during the day. The suggestion is that if you wake up and you don't feel like you are getting enough rest, is to try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier each night until when it is that you are able to wake up on your own, and feel fully rested.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, this may be due to stress, and when stressed, people generally have this problem because they are trying to keep difficulties on the mind in order to remember them. Dr. Laurie suggests to write them down before going to bed, and that way you have them documented, and you can review them in the morning.
Meditation can be helpful as well. The truth is, even the best meditators have unwanted thoughts come into the mind. Meditation is about being able to empty the mind. So when meditating, when thoughts come into the mind it is about recognizing that you are thinking these unwanted thoughts, and then pushing these unwanted thoughts out of the mind. It is good to remind yourself that you have documented them by writing them down, says Dr. Laurie, and therefore you will deal with them in the morning. It is best to adopt a mantra, such as ‘Sleep now. It is time to sleep now. Sleep now.’ Saying this in your mind over and over again, receptively, as you try to fall asleep.
Paying attention to your breathing can also be significant. As you breath deeply and rhythmically, this allows you to be able to relax, so that you can decompress.
When I personally can’t sleep, I try to force myself to dream, I imagine myself fighting bad guys or accomplishing one of my goals. This eventually turns into a real dream and I am able to fall asleep. Other times I will find sleep music to listen to on the internet, and lull myself into a sleepy state. Then I turn off my computer, and I keep the music in my head until I snooze. I read somewhere, that if you lay completely still for 15 minutes then your body will be forced into falling asleep. Take it from me, this was bullshit. However, visualizing yourself warm (or cool) progressively relaxing your body, can aide in the ability to relax your body into sleeping.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.