Monday

Another Look At Some Healthy Essentials

Hi again


In the last blog update, we explored some of the factors that showed how a regular good nights sleep can significantly boost our weight loss progress.

Since then, I came across another very recent article revealing research by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, detailing the dramatic effect that stress and lack of sleep has our immune system, our risk of having a stroke and even how long we live …

If you feel you may not be getting enough sleep, this really is worth a read.

Find out more by clicking the link below;


On the subject of previous posts, can you remember what this is?


I came across it again the other day and it’s something that I’d included in a post about a year ago. It shows some of the disgusting ingredients that go into making some of our everyday foods…..

If you haven’t seen this before, you might get a few surprises. Even if you have seen it before, it’s worth another look …

Just click the link below;


Staying with the theme of previous postings, can you remember what this is?


This is what a pound of fat looks like and I used it last year to highlight just how significant an achievement it is to only lose a pound. As I’ve said many times before, as long as we’re pointing in the right direction, small steps forward are fine.

If you’ve had a week where you’ve been disappointed about “just losing a pound” recently, take a look at the rest of this article by clicking the linking below;


Finally, it looks as though we could be in for a spell of decent weather after a very dreary couple of months. With this in mind, this is a great opportunity to ‘get active’ and start burning off a few more calories.

Added to that, here’s a reminder of a few ways we can ‘trick’ our bodies into increasing our metabolic rate, which will also lead to burning off more calories.



More again soon, bye for now.

Tony

Thursday

How Sleep Can Boost Your Weight-Loss Progress


When you’re scrambling to meet the demands of modern life, cutting back on sleep can seem like the only answer. Who can afford to spend so much time sleeping? The truth is you can’t afford not to. Even minimal sleep loss takes its toll on your mood, energy, ability to handle stress and, you’ve guessed it, your weight!

THE POWER OF SLEEP

Many of us want to sleep as little as possible … or feel like we have to. There are so many things that seem more interesting or important than getting a few more hours of sleep. But just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and of course, your weight! In fact, no other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!

UNDERSTANDING SLEEP

Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body and brain shut off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of biological maintenance tasks that keep you running in top condition and prepare you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you’re like a car in need of its routine service. You won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential.

It’s not just the number of hours in bed that is important, it’s the quality of those hours of sleep. If you’re giving yourself plenty of time for sleep, but you’re still having trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep; especially deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. By understanding how the sleep cycles work and the factors that can lead to those cycles being disrupted, you’ll be able to start getting both the quantity and the quality of sleep you need.

THE SLEEP-WAKE CYCLE

Your internal 24-hour sleep-wake cycle or ‘biological clock’, is regulated by processes in the brain that respond to how long you’ve been awake and the changes between light and dark. At night, your body responds to the loss of daylight by producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. During the day, sunlight triggers the brain to inhibit melatonin production so you feel awake and alert.

This sleep-wake cycle can be disrupted by factors such as nightshift work, traveling across time zones, or irregular sleeping patterns, leaving you feeling groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. The production of melatonin can also be thrown off when you’re deprived of sunlight during the day or exposed to too much artificial light at night, disrupting the sleep-wake cycle and preventing you from getting the sleep you need.

HOW MUCH SLEEP DO I NEED?

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.

There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can ‘get by on’ and the amount you need to function optimally. Just because you’re able to operate on 7 hours of sleep doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed. The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re logging enough hours, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime.

An article in the news a couple of weeks ago highlighted that just one night of bad sleep can cause us to gain weight because it makes people crave sugary and fatty foods.

For the whole article, click the link below;


“THAT'S ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME AS IT IS”

It’s funny how you can start to make just a little more time for something when you truly believe and understand how important it is. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the foremost reasons for a good night’s sleep. Read these and you’ll soon realize that not only can sleep transform your weight and your health; it just might prolong your life.

1. A classic symptom of insufficient sleep, is not feeling hungry in the morning, or feeling nauseous when you do eat breakfast. Never imagine that this is a convenient way to save on time and calories; the food that you eat first thing stimulates your metabolism and aids in detoxification. Without a good breakfast to line your stomach, you set yourself up for low energy and poor eating patterns the rest of the day.

2. A poor sleep cycle causes your body to create patterns that will enable you to handle the on-going sleep of your go-go-go lifestyle. One of these patterns is an excessive release of stress hormones such as cortisol, particularly in the evening. Stress hormones allow you to keep going, but they’re also the ones that keep you up at night. What’s more, they signal your body to store fat. And that’s regardless of how you’re eating or exercising.

3. Physical patterns such as the release of stress hormones are just one part of the equation. The other thing you need to consider is the compensation patterns that you yourself end up creating. An extra coffee here, a few pieces of chocolate there, the decision to have that mid-afternoon snack. When you’re tired your defences are down and it’s easy to think that these little things don’t count. But they could be the one thing stopping you from losing weight and improving your health.

4. Speaking of sugar, those mid-afternoon cravings are not just in your head. When you don’t have enough sleep your brain continually sends out urgent messages for quick energy. This is a survival instinct; it’s all about keeping you as alert and focused as possible. Will power alone can’t override these cravings; not when you’re fighting your own physiology. This just makes it harder to stick to your healthy eating goals.

5. In fact, it’s not just the mid-afternoon cravings that’ll get you when you’re tired. The truth is that you’ll find yourself eating far more on a daily basis, and that you’ll tend to do it all day long. You’ll also tend to make poorer choices, more processed foods, more sugary drinks, more starchy carbohydrates or fried foods. And it’s pretty tough to escape this cycle when your eyes are stinging and your motivation is at an all-time low. Leading sleep researchers T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby, Ph.D, in their book ‘Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, And Survival’ show a close connection between a lack of sleep and the increasing existence of obesity in our society.

6. One of the most seemingly unfair symptoms of sleep debt is that inability to wind down in the evening. Of course it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise; not when you’ve spent the better part of the day jacked up on caffeine and sugar. And even if you haven’t, your nervous system is in overdrive which keeps you buzzing all night long but leaves you groggy and useless in the morning. There’s only one way out of this mess, and it’s not more coffee.

7. Back ache, neck ache, tummy ache, headache … when you’re tired it sometimes just seems as though everything hurts. According to Paul Chek, H.H.P, as stated in his book “How To Eat, Move And Be Healthy”, physical repair takes place while you’re sleeping, and it happens in the first half of the night, around 10pm-2am. If you skip those vital first few hours and hit the sack post-midnight with the alarm set for 6 or 7am, your body simply cannot rejuvenate your muscle cells, or indeed any of your cells. This leaves you physically weaker and with constant ailments.

8. Of course you could try going to bed on time and getting up extra-early, if you still can’t afford yourself a full eight hours. But according to Paul you’d then you’d be skipping out on crucial psychological repair. This takes place approximately between 2am and 6am, and is directly linked to your mental focus, your moods, and your ability to maintain a positive mind-set. Imagine the effects of a lack of sleep over time – small wonder so many people find themselves heading down the dark road of depression or anxiety.

9. It’s pretty hard to climb off the wheel of life when you barely have the energy to get through the day. Missing out on sleep could be costing you a lot more than you realise if it means you’re stuck in the rut of your day-to-day life and simply can’t even begin to contemplate what it would take to make some changes. Whether it’s testing the waters for a new career or a promotion, ending or beginning a relationship, or even just trying out that hobby you’ve been shelving for so long, chances are it’s not going to happen when you’re frazzled and burnt out.

10. Missing even half an hour of sleep every night adds up to a staggering sleep debt of over 180 hours per year. There’s no short-cut to paying off this debt, nor can you outrun it’s constant and gruelling effects on your health. Next time you tell yourself that you can get by, stop and consider just how big your sleep debt is right now. And consider that the nights might just be dark for a reason.

The good news is that increasing your sleep by as little as half an hour, or even 15 minutes, every night can immediately and drastically improve the way you feel and function. For most of us it’s not possible to drop everything and implement drastic change, but the benefits of sleep don’t have to be a case of ‘all or nothing’. Why not treat yourself to an extra half hour shut eye tonight and start to soak up the health rewards right away?


Sleep well

Tony