More on sleep.
I think that similar to the Health At Every Size (HEAS) movement there’s a view that we have natural sleep patterns and we need o follow those natural sleep patterns. But the truth is, there are lots of things that get in the way of our natural sleep patterns, just like there’s things that get in the way of our natural size. So based upon levels of stress, aging, and whether we snore at night (not breathing at times), what should come naturally my no longer be natural and healthy, leaving us chronically sleep deprived. Our sleep deprivation is due to either not getting enough sleep or by getting poor quality sleep.
The standard recommendation be health professionals is for each of us to get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, the older you get the less sleep you actually need. We all actually really have different sleep needs based upon age and our genetics. You will have to do some investigation into your own sleep patterns and keep track of what might be getting in the way of good sleep specifically for you. For example, I know for myself if I don't have my curtains fully closed, that little streak of sun in the early morning will wake me up. I also have a cat that has the loudest purr ever! And another cat that when she lays on the bed becomes a giant concrete mass, impossible to move in order for me to get into a nice position to sleep.
I love my nice warm blankets at night pulled up tightly to my chin, but at a certain point in the middle of the night I feel the need to throw them off, and sometimes I struggle to find just the right amount of covers, as I can go from too hot, to too cold, to too hot, to too cold, pulling the covers on and off. A lot of people suggest that they drink alcohol at night in order to put themselves to sleep, yet studies show that alcohol intake does aid in going to sleep but also aids in frequently waking up during the night.
Another limitation I have found, leading to sleep struggles is to do with stressing over the work day and/or anxiety for the day ahead. In order to get a better sleep during the night would mean that there are environmental changes that would need to occur to accommodate a difference in your sleep patterns. It is interesting how our sleep hygiene is based in habits. When thinking that our sleep habits just come naturally, we just keep doing the same thing over and over again, yet it doesn’t work very well at all to help us change our sleep, creating a feeling of confusion.
Sleep is a process. Just like the Emotionally Focussed Eating Program, is a process. For good sleep we need to wind ourselves down, organize a relaxing environment in order to prepare ourselves for an appropriate amount and quality sleep. The idea is to create an evening routine that is restful and rejuvenating. When this is accomplished it will actually aid in continual weight loss. Studies have shown that dieters that don't take care of their sleep patterns can actually stop themselves from losing weight, even if their calorie intake stays the same, they don’t lose the weight, and actually end up feeling hungrier and less satisfied and suffering from low energy each day.
Creating a nighttime routine supports the process of sleep and also weight loss. Setting up a schedule of the time of the evening when you stop eating, stop drinking alcohol, stop watching the TV or working on your computer, taking the time to turn down the lights all creates a nighttime routine and atmosphere that says to your body and your brain that it is time to go to bed and to sleep. It is also important to say to yourself at night that ‘It is time to sleep’ over and over again until your brain ‘gets it’. The rewards of which will include an increase in energy, less stress, and increased weight loss each and every day.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.