Improving your quality of sleep
Poor sleep patterns make people more sensitive to overeating and that becomes a vicious cycle of overeating, night eating, and poor sleep. Sleep plays a vital roll in emotional well-being and so does your nutrition in terms of the ability to cope with life in general. Having less sleep or poor quality sleep results in a heightened sensitivity to emotional pain as well as physical pain and the reduced ability to cope. This happens because sleep is regulated by the actions of your neurotransmitters which are highly affected by stress and those that are experiencing emotional pain, physical pain, or people who are not nutritionally eating well, are highly stressed by that experience and therefore experiencing inflammation in the body which exacerbates the feelings of pain (emotional or physical) the continued need to eat unhealthy food, as well as resulting sleep problems.
Sleep is a multi-faceted issue, the quality of your sleep environment is really important as well as your sleep hygiene rituals. If your environment is too loud, too hot, too cold, too much light, too much activity, too cramped, just plain uncomfortable, all of these factors will get in the way of good sleep. You need to be able to work out for yourself your own requirements.
One of the things that leads to our quality and ability to sleep is actually what happens before it is that we go to bed. This is to do with sleep hygiene. If you are too hungry when you go to bed you will experience waking up in the middle of the night because your body is desperate for glucose. If you are too full when it is you go to bed, your stomach will be uncomfortable and as it is you try to lay down, gastro-intestinal problems will ensue. All of this is to do with exciting yourself before you go to bed, like watching TV or playing video games or texting or having a serious conversation with family members or even reading an exciting book! What you are doing is highly arousing your system, stimulating your system instead of relaxing your system.
Another trap people often fall into is relying on substances. Alcohol is a depressant on the central nervous system and as much as it is that it is a depressant, if you are partying then you are actually really exciting your system as apposed to suppressing it. Other people use cannabis in order to put themselves to sleep, another form of a depressant. Too much of either will have the opposite effect, causing wakefulness. The goal for people who, generally speaking do either before bed, is to produce a higher level of sedation to suppress brain functioning in order to put themselves to sleep. Unfortunately studies have shown that these substances although allowing the person to get to sleep can be relatively short lived, causing sleep disturbances because there is a rebound effect. The brain has a level of electrical stimulation and once suppressed the brain wants to maintain its normal level of arousal during sleep in order for dreaming to occur. Dreaming allows you to ‘digest’ our experiences of the day in order to be able to process them through and when dreaming stops it interferes with our natural ability to resolve the emotional component of whatever problems you’ve come across that day. Without this ability to ‘digest’ these experiences, it also interferes with your overall ability to cope with life circumstances during the day, increasing the need to self-soothe by eating the problems away instead.
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