Is Lack Of Sleep Hampering Your Weight Loss?

In a culture that simultaneously places ever-increasing demands on our productivity and recreation; many of us find ourselves cutting corners on our nightly allotment of sleep. While it's easy to view the loss of a few hours of sleep as no big deal, over time, the lost hours actually ‘build up’ and form a sleep debt. After several days of inadequate rest, we begin thinking muddled thoughts, getting upset over trivial matters and our bodies effectiveness at burning calories reduces; we're experiencing sleep deprivation.

There are many symptoms of sleep deprivation affecting our bodies and our brains. Sleep deprivation can be a source of domestic unhappiness, career shortcomings and noticing our weight beginning to creep up.

So here are five signs you may be sleep deprived?

Inability To Handle Stress

If you've been feeling stressed out lately, the circumstances you're buckling under may not be the problem -- it may be lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation wears down our normal capacity to deal with daily aggravations and challenges, such as normal rush hour traffic.

Running short on sleep seems to lower the threshold for "stress perception." When you're dead tired, having to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work may seem like an impossible task, not a routine activity.

While lack of sleep can amplify stress, stress itself can lead to inadequate sleep. Studies have shown that people who sleep soundly in times of stress are more focused on tasks, while those who respond to stress by losing sleep keep their focus on their roiling emotions.

But if you can't remember what it is that's stressing you out in the first place, you may be experiencing the next sign of sleep deprivation…

Poor Memory

If you've ever said, "I can't even remember the last time I got a good night's sleep," your words might be more revealing than you think. After a restless night, you may become forgetful or experience "senior moments."

Research has shown that deep sleep plays an important role in memory, because it facilitates connections between nerve cells. The less deep sleep you get, the fewer connections form between nerve cells. Both humans and animals perform worse on memory tests when deprived of sleep.

Inability To Concentrate

If you've ever dragged yourself into the office on Monday after a restless weekend and had to feign interest in a long meeting, you may be familiar with another sign of sleep deprivation; an inability to concentrate.

Sleep-deprived subjects in studies are not only more likely to perform poorly on tests requiring concentration, but also, they're more likely to overestimate their performance. They also underestimate the effects of sleep deprivation on their ability to concentrate.

Those effects increase as our sleep debt builds. A person getting seven hours of nightly sleep for a week will perform better on tasks requiring concentration than a person who gets five hours a night for a week.

Caffeine does offer a ‘quick fix’ and improves concentration, but only for a little while; its effects peak after about an hour of consumption.

Increased Appetite

It almost seems counter-intuitive to think that one of the keys to losing weight might be getting more sleep, but when our sleep-deprived brains start making demands, it can be nearly impossible to control the cravings.

Lack of sleep poses many problems to a person with an otherwise healthy diet. For one thing, the longer you're awake, the more time you have to consume calories. But lack of sleep also makes you hungry. People who've gone without sleep have higher levels of hormones that signal the body that it's time to eat and fewer hormones that signal being full or satisfied.

Our body processes sugars at a slower rate when we're sleep deprived. As a result, sleep-deprived people report craving sweets and salty foods, in addition to starches. Studies have also shown a clear connection between sleep deprivation and obesity. Sleep-deprived people have double the risk of obesity when compared with those who have no trouble sleeping.

Reduced Coordination

If life suddenly feels like it does after a boozy night out, it may be a sign that you need more sleep.

Researchers discovered that after you've gone a night without sleep, you're essentially operating on the same level as someone who's legally intoxicated. When you're sleep deprived, your mouth may not be able to get the words out as you try to communicate. Slurred speech, stuttering and speaking in monotone are clues that point to sleep deprivation. You may also fumble with small objects and be unsteady on your feet.

Sleep deprivation also leads to slower reaction times. Studies show it affects speed before it affects accuracy (be it physical or mental). But stay awake a little longer, and you'll be neither quick nor accurate.

So, if you’ve read through this and are thinking “this could be me”, look out for the next blog post when I‘ll be sharing some practical ways in which you can really begin to boost your nightly levels of sleep.

In the meantime, for more on how sleep can boost your weight loss progress, click HERE

Best wishes



Why You DON'T Want A Weight Loss Miracle..

Just imagine for a moment, that you woke up tomorrow morning and a miracle had happened; all that weight you wanted to lose was GONE..!!! How would you feel?

At first, there’s no doubt you’d feel amazing, but chances are, all that weight would be back on inside a year or two. Easy come, easy go.

The actual, ongoing process of losing weight is equally as important as ultimately achieving your desired goal.

Taking the time to develop the mind-set of the person you want to become, is absolutely vital if you’re going to maintain that new lifestyle once you get there. This has been proven time and time again in all kinds of studies; did you know that 70% of lottery winners spend or lose all their money in 5 years or less. This is largely due to the fact that they never actually developed the mentality of a millionaire.
Similarly, did you realise that 95% of dieters regain all the weight they’ve lost in 5 years or less? Again, largely due to the fact that a diet is really not much more than a short-term fix… restricting ourselves to a shortlist of permitted foods for a given length of time, isn’t necessarily going to change the way we think about our eating habits once those restrictions are lifted.

This is really important;-  In order for us to lose weight and successfully keep it off, we need to progressively ‘train’ our minds over time, allowing us to develop a slimmer, healthier mind-set, so that by the end of the process, we’ll have gradually created the thought processes and the perspectives that a slimmer, healthier person possesses, easing ourselves into that new lifestyle.

Yes, on the outside, it’s about the calories we eat and the calories we burn off, but what else can we do…?

Think of losing weight as an INSIDE JOB..!! Focus on behaviours that you wish to change to reduce your daily fat and calorie intake. Think about the actual things you can do to keep the fridge free from high calorie snacks and drinks! Consider how your behaviours would need to be tweaked in a way that would allow you to become more physically active, perhaps by starting to walk on a regular basis, then maybe moving up to doing a 3 or 5K! Remember it is all about evolving your mind-set!

Keep constantly reminding yourself of, and focusing on the actual REASONS you want to lose that weight in the first place. We’re driven by our emotions, so what are all those emotions going to feel like once you reach your goal…?

Speaking of goals, make sure they’re realistic and attainable but more importantly, broken down into bite-size chunks, so that you can celebrate each individual mile-stone along the way as a ‘success’. This progressively trains your mind into a pattern of success after success after success…

Never underestimate the power of visualization…

This is one feature of mind-set which will allow you to ‘see’ the results before they have actually happened! Really allow yourself to see, hear and experience how it feels to be your ideal weight now, incorporating all 5 senses into your vision. Even write it down, as if you are already at your new weight and how that feels! Find pictures of new clothes that you’re planning to buy or take out clothes from your wardrobe that will fit you at your dream weight. Visualise yourself in these and notice how you feel… consider it a dress rehearsal that prepares you to recognize, receive and accept success!

“Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and picture yourself healthier and slimmer!”  How do you walk? With your head held high? How do you dress? More boldly? More vibrantly? How do you feel? More confident, energized, and proud of your achievements?

This IS a journey; develop and reinforce your long-term ‘slimmer’ mind-set by acknowledging EVERY scrap of success along the way. Success is not just achieved once you reach your ultimate goal; your ultimate goal is reached and maintained after you’ve conditioned your mind with a continual stream of many smaller, individual successes, so allow yourself to celebrate and relish each and every one of them.

Remember, enjoy the journey, not just the end result.