Sick and Tired: The Connection between Sleep, Weight and Health

The Importance of Sleep

When you find yourself in a race against the clock, sleep is often one of the first things to go. Conversely, our tendency to be “plugged in” at all times (via our cellphones, televisions, video games… you name it!) can take a toll on healthy sleep behaviors that we need to manage all aspects of our life.

The truth is this: Sleep matters. 

In fact, it’s critical to your body in the same way that food and physical activity are. Remember that old phrase “You can sleep when you’re dead“? That isn’t going to work for you if you’re serious about your weight and health. A good night’s rest, and even frequent naps if you need them, are essential to your overall well-being.

Why Does Sleep REALLY Matter?

Sure – catching up on your Z’s is great for feeling alert and active, but the benefits of adequate rest stretch well beyond that. Your body requires rest in order to:

  • Build a Healthy Immune System. Sleep deficiency can change the way your body responds to foreign or harmful substances. Looking to beat the common cold? Protect yourself against disease? This is one key way.
  • Repair and Grow Your Body. Specific hormones in our body require rest in order to boost muscle mass, promote normal growth, repair cells and tissues and aid in reproduction.
  • Manage Appetite. Similar to what’s listed above, sleep affects certain hormones that manage our appetite. Examples include ghrelin (hunger-producing) and leptin (hunger reducing). Having trouble fighting cravings or managing your mid-day appetite? Getting your slumber can help.
  • Maintain Energy Levels. Insufficient sleep can make it difficult to get through the day, engage in exercise or even participate in day-to-day activities such as grocery shopping or doing the laundry. Keep your energy levels at their best by making friends with your pillow and bed.
  • Control Your Mood. Do you battle with depression or anxiety? What about mood swings or other brain-related conditions? Rest is essential for regulating brain function and feeling your best. And, when you feel better, you tend to make healthier decisions for your mind and body.

How Can I Promote Better Sleep?

Fortunately, and unless you’re suffering from a more serious medical condition such as insomnia or sleep apnea, there are a variety of ways to ensure a quality night’s rest:

  • Clean-up your diet with whole foods and essential nutrients
  • Exercise regularly to activate your muscles and induce rest
  • Create a relaxing sleep environment (ex: dark room, relaxing sounds, cooler temperatures)
  • Download a helpful sleep app such as Sleep Genius or Sleep Cycle
  • Develop a routine you can stick to. It will help to have a standard “bedtime” and “wake-up time.”

Learn More about Sleep, Weight and Health at YWM2017!

YWM logo BlueThe sleep-health connection is emerging as a popular conversation in the weight and health industry. You can learn more about this fascinating topic by visiting the OAC’s (producer of the Your Weight Matters Campaign) 2017 Your Weight Matters National Convention and hearing from sleep medicine expert Jason C. Ong, PhD!

Find out more about this exciting session by taking a peak at the YWM2017 Program Agenda. You can also learn more about the Convention by visiting YWMConvention.com.

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