Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sleep Yourself Slim?

I've had a nasty month of colds! Two in one month and then my eldest son was very sick last week basically having us housebound and me sleep deprived and exhausted. When my fitness, nutrition or sleep go off balance or disappear, you might as well lock me up. I'm certifiable. I'm so negative and I get so dark. I had to fake it to those around me and put on a phony smile but inside I felt horrible. Every happy or positive thing I read on Facebook I wanted to reach out and slap the person reporting it. That’s when I know I’m not in a good place. The importance of the endorphin fix and the well-being I receive from a good workout is indescribable. No, not true, I can describe it: just one more day of no workouts and you’d see me being carted away in a straight-jacket screaming and flailing my arms and legs; because it sure felt like I was heading there.

What changed? Rest, rest and more rest. I had to force my son to rest and I had to take the same advice and force myself to rest. For those of you that know me well, you know I don't particularly like sleep or sitting still for that matter. I'm a night owl and I feel like I'm missing ‘the’ party at the thought of going to bed before 9pm. My head knows better but it’s just the way I’m wired. To get well I knew I had to really focus on increasing my sleeping time these past two weeks as well as keeping my expectations of myself and tasks I’d like to complete to an absolute minimum.

Our families increased sleep worked and we are all healthy today! We celebrated by climbing rocks and playing at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver and then home for a great workout on the spin bike. What a glorious day!

So super athletes, wanna-be-athletes and couch potatoes listen up! Along with good nutrition and great workouts, we really need our sleep!! According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking, and breathing.

Studies have consistently shown that sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity and emotional well-being. This explains why, after a good nights sleep, you feel better, your thoughts are clearer, and your emotions are less fragile. Without adequate sleep, judgment, mood and ability to learn and retain information are weakened. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to an array of serious medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even early mortality.

Weight gain is one of the most disturbing consequences of lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep tends to disrupt hormones (including leptin) that control hunger and appetite. The optimal amount of sleep for weight control is between seven to eight hours a night. 68,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School reveals that women who sleep five hours a night are 32 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds or more as they get older than women who sleep seven hours or more.

Common sense says that someone who’s awake and running around should be using up more calories than someone who’s in bed. Running around should make them skinnier, right? But the study, conducted over a 16-year period, reveals that even when the women who slept longer ate more, they still gained less than women who slept less.

So shut the computer off and get to bed and prep your body for some calorie burning energy!!! Night night and see you really soon!

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