Every month, GNC treats its club members right by giving them a discount during the first week of every month. A friend of mine who works there shared with me that joining the club would pay for itself rather quickly, if you shopped during the first week of the month. So, I do! The Shrewsbury GNC is a great place to find vitamins and supplements and if you’re ever there, ask for Donna. She’s great!
Anyway, with my purchase they always give me something fun, whether it be reading material or a sample. This month I was looking through the Wellbella magazine they gave me and read an article on sleep. I’d like to share a few things, from memory here, as I don’t have the magazine – it has already found it’s way to recycle heaven.
One of the striking things to me, in the initial paragraphs of the article, was the statistic that over the last 50 years, hours of sleep per night have decreased, what I feel to be rather significantly.
Apparently, 50 years ago, the average American was getting 8.5 hours per night. WOW, right?! That has decreased to 7 or less in today’s society. Yep, that’s about right, isn’t it? They drew a parallel between increasing obesity and decreasing sleep. Makes sense, I thought. So, inquiring mind that I have… I read on.
According to this article I read, sleep is key to maintaining efficiency in one’s metabolism. We, as humans, perform best during the day, with daylight, as does our metabolism. At night, our metabolism is less efficient, just like us. Our appetite is controlled by different forms of protein, but what I did not know was that when we don’t get the sleep we need, the proteins that cause hunger are turned on, thus making us want to eat and, as a result, we do. In addition, those who are sleep deprived tend to have higher stress level. Does stress make us eat? Yep, it sure can. Two other things I learned were that sleep makes your body better able to burn calories (due to insulin levels) and that lack of sleep can prohibit us from gaining muscle mass.
Now my initial question… Can we sleep our way to slim? No, not really, but we can help manage our weight by getting those ZZZZZZZ’s! How much do we really need? Ideally, 7.5 hours or a bit more.
Is that possible? That’s up to you. Now, here are a few tips to help you get there:
- Try not to work (ie. On the computer) or watch TV immediately prior to going to bed.
- Refrain from exercising right before bed, as well. Get your workout in 3 or more hours before.
- Do not nap. Save sleep for the nighttime hours.
- Try to keep a consistent bedtime. We do it for our children, why not give it a shot, yourself.
- Have some nighttime protein… I prefer Casein.