Made your list, checked it twice. No, not for Santa -- holiday season is gone. I'm talking about the lists -- the mental and physical lists we make everyday as we attempt to add order to our busy, even chaotic lives. If weight loss and health gain top your list this decade, I've got one piece of advice that's sure to melt pounds and boost energy, for a net health gain.
Sleep melts pounds, you question? You bet! For several reasons:
1) When we are tired -- physically, emotionally or both -- the body cries out for energy. What gives the body quick energy? Carbs. What add extra undesirable and unhealthy thickness to our middles? Excess and less good quality carbs. Think of our bodies like a race car: we only want the amount of gas (i.e. carbs) that gives us fuel for the moment -- enough to get to the next pit stop. If we over consume to provide energy, the body stores that energy as fat. Ever had the following scenarios happen to you:
A) Woke up exhausted and instead of your usual oatmeal with nuts, you ordered a vanilla latte and perhaps even the muffin there too?
B) Quick lunch, back to the office and by 3 p.m. you're nodding, rewriting sentences and maybe even nod off (a lil' drool on the desk). So you get up for a walk and encounter a candy bowl on a coworkers desk, the muffins left over from breakfast, or even the cookies or cake from your kids party that weekend. OR maybe you walk out to get coffee but instead end up with the Latte and muffin -- yes you got a pick me up but you also made a deposit in ye old storage center -- abdominal fat
C) Had lunch, rushed through the afternoon and finally are walking into the door at 6 p.m. You are so tired you could crawl into bed now, but instead, since you have things to do, you grab a quick pick me up - a banana or a handful of pretzels...and ten minutes later another handful or some cheese ... then some ___ -- fill in the blank but by 8 p.m. you've snacked your way through the house, maybe even added a little dinner in too, and are now awake, watching some TV or catching up on Facebook and of course you want a little sweet. Now its 10 p.m. and you're not tired enough to fall asleep and don't do so til 1 am so you wake up tired...and the whole cycle starts again. So SLEEP whether it's your seven to eight hours at night or a quick mid-afternoon nap helps quiet the body's cries for energy and keeps them regulated to energy we use vs store.
2) Sleep is our recovery time. Imagine if you never had time to clear your desk or do the dishes. What would your office or house look (and smell) like after a week, a year, 10 years? Well, that's what happens inside us if we don't get sufficient sleep. The body ends up storing versus using, it misses eliminating toxins, it raises levels of built-in cleaning systems to "overworked" and they try to prioritize to get done what they must, missing key things such as clearing out the digestive tract, removing toxins etc. So even if you eat well, get your exercise, take supplements etc., your body hasn't the time to assimilate all the good stuff you've given it.
Okay, time for me to sign-off, I need to get ready for bed :)
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