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A Good Night's Sleep May Be Your Ticket To Weight Loss

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Sleep has so many benefits that it is no surprise to learn that it may help you lose those stubborn extra pounds. A lack of sleep increases the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which can cause you to take in some extra calories. Sleep deprivation can also increase your cravings for sweets and other unhealthy foods.

Sleep also helps you maintain a healthy weight by giving you the energy to be active. When you are short of sleep, your muscles may feel sore and tired making you less inclined to exercise. This leads to a vicious cycle as being sedentary during the day does little to help you fall asleep at night.

Implementing sleep-promoting habits like turning off electronics well before bedtime, doing some nighttime meditation and keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature can help you get the sleep you need so you can shed the weight you don't need.


Tracking Your Sleep May Not Be A Good Idea

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Health apps are all the craze lately. From counting how many steps we take in a day to determining how much time we spend in REM sleep during the night, learning about our daily rhythms can inform us about our current state of health and identify areas that we may need to work on.

Having said that, this technology does have a downside. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that those who used sleep trackers became fixated on getting perfect sleep. This preoccupation is called orthosomnia. The anxiety and worry associated with not getting impeccable sleep caused sleep problems.

Although eight hours is often touted as the magic number, there are those who need more and those who can do with less. Also, the time spent in each sleep stage and the length of a cycle can vary from person to person. Therefore, if you find that tracking your sleep has decreased the quantity or quality of your slumber, it may be time to put the app to rest.




If I’m tired during the day, I must be sleep-deprived

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Excessive daytime sleepiness doesn’t always mean that you’re short of nighttime slumber. It can be a sign of a sleep disorder known as narcolepsy. People who suffer from narcolepsy are extremely tired regardless of how much sleep they get at night. Excessive daytime tiredness also occurs with other conditions such as hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and anemia.

Feeling a brief bout of afternoon fatigue is not that unusual. While we are often quick to blame this short-lived tiredness on the food we ate for lunch, what we are experiencing is the natural dip in the circadian clock that occurs in the early to mid afternoon. When this happens, getting some fresh air or going for a walk can help to increase your alertness.






Being Short On Sleep Is Not The Same As Being A Short Sleeper

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Sleeping less than six hours per night has become commonplace for many people. Although this is not enough sleep for most, researchers have found that there is actually a small subset of the population that can do with less sleep. These are the short sleepers and despite getting less than 75% of the amount of sleep that most others get, they are able to function well. They do not feel tired when they wake up and they do not need coffee or other stimulants to keep them going.

Short sleepers are thought to have a gene mutation that allows them to sleep less. This is in stark contrast to those who are short of sleep by choice or by circumstance. These people do not get the sleep they require and often turn to high-caffeine drinks or naps to get through their day. Sadly, over a third of the population falls into this category. Sleep deprivation has many negative health consequences. Ensuring that you get the right amount of sleep is essential to achieving physical and emotional well-being…

Melatonin May Not Be Your Best Bet For Insomnia

When it comes to the treatment of insomnia, there are a lot of options to choose from. Many people looking for a "natural" approach will turn to melatonin as their first line of defence. The truth is that this may not be the best choice, and here's why....

Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone that is naturally produced by the body in response to darkness. It is an important regulator of the circadian rhythm, the body's internal clock. Research has demonstrated that taking supplemental melatonin is best for those who have a disrupted circadian rhythm, such as shift workers and people travelling between time zones. There is also evidence that melatonin can be an effective treatment for those on the autism spectrum who suffer from sleep problems.

When it comes to the management of insomnia, the best approach is to first identify the cause. Insomnia can have a number of causes including stress, a poor bedtime routine, misinformation about sleep, pain, hyperthyroidism, …

Going to bed hungry is bad for sleep

Trying to sleep on an empty stomach will often result in difficulty both falling asleep and staying asleep. This is because some of our hunger hormones actually promote alertness. Therefore, if you're feeling peckish at bedtime, eating a healthy snack may be your best bet for achieving the depth and duration of sleep that your body needs.


If you can't sleep, it's not fine to check the time

While being treated for sleep disorders, I found the best piece of advice that I received to be to put my clock under the bed.

I was one of those people who couldn't help but look at the clock during the night. Following that, I would do the mental math to determine how many more hours I had left to sleep. Knowing that I had fewer than four hours to catch some zzzz's caused me tremendous stress, making me stay awake even longer.

Thinking back I can't believe I didn't realize this was going on. In fact, this is a very characterisitc behaviour of the insomnia-sufferer. The fear of not being able to sleep is a huge trigger of sleeplessness.

Luckily, this significant problem has a very simple solution. You guessed it: don't look at the clock. Do whatever you need to do to make this happen. Turn the clock around, place it under the bed or put it in another room. Whatever it takes, you must eliminate this unnecessary source of anxiety if you are looking to sleep tight, e…
Lisa Varadi's books on Goodreads
Sleep: The Secrets of Slumber Sleep: The Secrets of Slumber
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