It’s your favourite football team playing against their arch-rivals. So what if it’s being broadcast during the wee hours of the day? Or maybe it’s your favourite TV series. Watching one more episode won’t hurt right? Wrong! Sleeping for prolonged hours may be the key to losing those extra kilos.
Insufficient amount of sleep can really impact your body weight. While you so ardently binged on that match or that TV series losing out on the little precious sleep, your body conjures up a perfect recipe for weight gain.
When you’re sleep deprived, you’d obviously rely on a large latte to get going. You might be inclined to skip the workout because you’re tired, get yourself a takeout for dinner, and then go to bed late because you’re uncomfortably stuffed.
Your sleepy brain
Depriving yourself of sleep makes your brain take bad decisions. It fades the activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the centre for impulse control and decision-making. So it’s a somewhat like being drunk. You don’t have the clarity to make the right decisions.
Plus, when you’re over-exhausted, your brain’s reward centre, is looking for something that feels good. So while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to the second slice of cake.
Research reveals the story. A study discovered that when people were deprived of sleep, late-night snacking escalated, and they were more inclined to munch on high-carb snacks.
Sleep works like nutrition for the brain. Most people require between 7 and 9 hours every night. Any lesser than that and your body will respond in ways that lead anyone committed to their diet, straight to Ben & Jerry’s.
Why? Because too little sleep can spike up your cortisol levels. This stress hormone indicates your body to save energy for your waking hours. Bottomline, you’re more apt to hang on to fat.
Tricks and tips for a better night’s sleep
In today’s world, dozing off can be quite a task, essentially when all your screens (computers, TVs, cell phones, tablets) provoke you into staying up just a little bit longer.
The tricks are pretty simple:
- Shut down your cell phone, computer, and TV at least an hour before you hit the bed.
- Follow a bedtime routine. It’s not the time to ponder over big issues. Instead, take a warm bath, read, or meditate.
- Think about rejuvenation and release, rather than entertainment or work.
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Watch what and when you eat. Avoid heavy meals and alcohol closer to bedtime, which may trigger heartburn and make it difficult to doze off. And stay away from Tea, Coffee, Soda, and Chocolate after 2 p.m. Caffeine can linger in your system for 5-6 hours.
- Turn the lights out. Darkness sets your body up to unlock the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light subdues it.
Even science favours the snooze button. Now go catch some shuteye and don’t let anyone stop you from curling up in your bed.