Would a NASCAR team go to your local 7-eleven to buy their gas for the Daytona 500?
Why, then, should you settle for anything less than the proper fuel for your body?
Aren’t you more important than that race-car?
That’s a rhetorical question, so you don’t need to answer it.
Fact is, we’ve been feeding our bodies junk for decades and forcing it to run on this food. Did you know this food is actually meant to be fuel for your body?
That’s what food is for. Your body runs on it.
So why would you feed it crap and expect it to run like a finely tuned machine plastered with sponsors’ logos?
Fact is, our bodies have more energy and better rest when we feed it the fuel it needs: a balanced diet made up of meats, fruits, veggies, grains, and yes, even some sugars.
Did you know that farmers actually feed candy to their animals when their normal feed gets too expensive? It’s all part of a balanced diet, but according to the USDA, sales of Cattle back in 2012 were over $76 billion, and it’s only grown since then.
So if $76 billion of animals who are on highly controlled diets planned out months or years in advance can eat some sugar, you can afford to eat a little sugar too, just keep it under control.
The point, is that we need our bodies to be finely tuned machines at all times and while much of that revolves around our diets, we can’t ignore something else just as vital.
Why Sleeping Helps You Lose Weight
There have been endless number of studies over the last few decades on methods to aid weight loss, and of course, sleep has been one of the factors tested.
Americans have been increasingly reporting a lower quality and quantity of sleep since the last century, and some studies have shown a connection between losing sleep and not being able to maintain your weight.
Not only have we been losing sleep, but at the same time we’ve been steadily gaining weight too. Now, that’s all circumstantial evidence, but there have been some studies done to prove the connection is there.
Have you ever gotten to bed late, tossed and turned all night, then woke up early the next morning?
I definitely have.
Did you happen to notice being hungry all day long?
I’m an airline pilot, so my work schedule gets pretty screwy sometimes. I’ll have to get to sleep late one night, and then they make me wake up before the sun a couple days later.
Well, that doesn’t work too well. It’s hard to get to sleep at 8 pm when you’re used to getting to bed at 1am.
So I end up getting, at most, 4 hours of sleep and then working 10-12 hours.
And let me tell you, I spend the whole day hungry. Turns out, there’s a good reason for it.
You see, when we don’t get enough sleep, our body’s neurotransmitters get screwed up. There are these things called Ghrelin and Leptin in our bodies, and it’s believed they help tell our bodies when we’re full or when we’re hungry.
Well, a study showed that when we only get 4 hours of sleep at night, our Ghrelin levels are increased and Leptin is decreased compared to when we get 10 hours of sleep.
Ghrelin promotes hunger and Leptin fullness, so having more of Ghrelin and less of Leptin is not the ideal way around.
This is why it’s believed that sleep is so important. When you’re hungry you’re going to eat, even if you don’t actually need the food.
There are other reasons to make sure you’re getting enough sleep though. First, studies have shown we’re more likely to grab sweeter, unhealthier food when we’re tired.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal, right?
If we’re well rested, we’re more likely to choose healthier foods, which many times require more effort to eat.
Like making a home-cooked meal for the family instead of hitting up McDonald’s.
Second, if we’re well rested, we’ll have more energy throughout the day for activities like exercising. Doesn’t even have to be the gym, you could go for a walk, bike ride, or even organize a kickball game with your neighbors.
Some Tips for Being Better Rested
- Reduce your stress. Chronic stress makes it more difficult to get to sleep, and can lead to weight gain by itself.
- Make sure it’s dark. It may seem obvious, but making sure it’s dark helps your body know it’s time to sleep. Try turning off the lights or using blackout shades.
- Be consistent. Constantly changing your sleep schedule can confuse your body and make it more difficult to get to sleep in time.
- Check for Medical Conditions. There are an endless number of medical conditions that can inhibit your sleep. The rising rate of obesity has also led to an increase in sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is easily treated and directly linked to weight gain.
If you want to learn more about how well-connected sleep is to diets and weight loss, click this link to watch a video that can help you understand how vital it is. It takes a bit to get started, but give it a few minutes.