6 Golden Door tips for a good healthy sleep
How sleep can help keep your hunger at bay
Sleep and weight are closely linked due to the activity and balance of two hormones – grehlin and leptin. When an imbalance occurs we notice an increase in our appetite, usually resulting in us reaching for the quick hit of sugar to keep us going. Grehlin is found in the lining of the stomach and is indestructible. Leptin, on the other hand, is a fleeting hormone found in the blood stream which is easily disrupted by too much sugar and poor sleep patterns. Essentially, grehlin tells us to eat (our ‘hunger hormone’) and leptin tells us we are full (our ‘fullness hormone’). When leptin levels are damaged, we find it extremely hard to eat nutritious foods as our brains are fatigued and demand more glucose – which is an easy fix in our world today, as the availability of quick and easy snacks is higher than ever. It’s challenging to eat mindfully and with a modicum of self-control when we are tired and zapped of mental energy, however this vicious cycle can be disrupted when we focus on ensuring we receive adequate sleep for our bodies to rest, recover and rejuvenate.
We have a much higher risk of being overweight if we sleep less than 7 hours each night
We have a much higher risk of being overweight if we sleep less than 7 hours each night (up to 73% greater chance when less than 5 hours). Arianna Huffington in The Sleep Revolution quotes a study performed by the Mayo clinic, where subjects who were sleep restricted gained more weight over a week than those who slept well, in fact they demonstrated an average increase of 559 additional calories in the day! Considering there are 8800 calories in 1kg of fat, it doesn’t take long to pile on additional weight. Unfortunately, seemingly our society is yet to understand that sleep is a life-sustaining physiological function that is a vital, healthy behaviour to cultivate, not least because it helps us control our weight.
Here are Golden Door’s 6 key tips for a quality sleep routine:
- Set up a standard routine of input and output. In other words, head to bed at the same time, but more importantly get up at the same time; eat meals at structured intervals, exercise at similar times where possible, even go to the bathroom at similar times
- Leave your devices in the kitchen / lounge room / anywhere but the bedroom (you can buy alarm clocks – buy yourself one as checking social media at 2am because you checked the time when you get up to use the bathroom is not a great idea or supportive for good quality sleep)
- Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol
- Eat a protein snack just before going to bed (the amino acid tryptophan is a precursor to melatonin, our ‘sleepy hormone’)
- Make sure your environment is darkened, peaceful and comfortable
- Manage stress levels by developing coping strategies
Clinical Health Services Manager
Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat and Spa