Monday, October 26, 2009

Coping When You Can't Sleep

So you missed out on some precious sleep, and now you're dragging. That's nothing new. But have you ever thought about what that can mean for your weight-loss efforts? You walk into work, confused and dulled, excusing yourself to the colleagues you bump into with tales of all the sleep you didn't get last night. In today's world of overwhelming responsibilities and lack of personal time, sleep is often put on the back burner. And your body pays the price. A night of no sleep (or even too little sleep), can leave you confused and exhausted all day. In this disoriented state, trying to face the already-difficult challenge of sticking to your weight-loss plan hardly seems worth the energy. When your body screams "Sleep!" Of course, if insomnia is a repeat occurrence for you, visit your doctor — it could be a sign of a number of conditions, including depression. But the occasional night of "not enough" requires some attention on your part, too. "Lack of sleep is a stress on the body," says Karen Miller-Kovach, MS, RD, Chief Scientific Officer for Weight Watchers International. "When you don't get enough sleep, your body is in an after-stress reaction mode, and you go to eat." And this is the worst part: "You tend not to make good choices because your body is reacting to the stress with something called disinhibition." In other words, you're tired, so you lose the motivation and desire that, under well-rested conditions, you usually have to make good choices. "Your body sets itself up in sleep deprivation mode, psychologically and behaviorally," continues Miller-Kovach. "It's a very vulnerable time." And that's not even counting the physiological response. When you don't get enough sleep, your body reacts in a "fight or flight" way. There's a release of sugar as fuel so your body can run away from this terrible thing that's happening to it. That sugar is then converted into fat. Research also suggests that even temporary sleep deprivation can affect the body's ability to break down carbohydrates. Plus, a lack of rest may destroy your resolve to fit some exercise into your lunch hour — those extra minutes of exercise that keep you on the road to successful weight loss. Well-rested equals more energized. Lack of sleep? A surefire precursor to scoffing at the idea of an invigorating power walk with your buddies after work. Exercises for exhaustion Of course you know you need more and better sleep — don't we all — but sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day, so you have no choice but to steal a couple from your nights. When too many responsibilities keep you from getting the sleep you deserve, keep the following things in mind: Eat well. Here's a surprise: "It doesn't matter what you eat, what matters is that you are on guard," Miller-Kovach says. The trick is not to adjust what you eat for lack of sleep, but rather to not let sleep affect your resolve to eat well. Avoid caffeine. "It's a stimulant, so as it wears off — which will happen quickly — it will accentuate the problem," says Miller-Kovach. You're better off having something soothing, like herbal tea. And stay on guard. Remember your body's first reaction: "Fight or flight." Your body is tired, and your first reaction is to wake yourself up to eat. Don't get us wrong: You should always eat breakfast in the morning — it'll help you round out your hunger and stay on track for the rest of the day. But your exhaustion might cause you to lose track, to eat aimlessly and thoughtlessly. When you know you haven't had enough sleep, put up your food defenses and pay extra-close attention. [Article Source]

No comments:

Post a Comment