We all feel great after a good night's sleep, so why don't we at least aim to get the recommended hours (or more!)? I firmly believe people would do a lot of things "should" be doing if they only knew WHY. It's safe to assume we all know we should be getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night, but WHY is that so important. What is the urgent need for that many hours anyway? If you ask me, we should be learning this in a much needed "life skills" class in high school, but that is a topic for another day! I'd like to give you an overview of how sleep helps you in so many corners of your life that you'll be excited to turn the TV off and get to bed early tonight!
Let's start by talking about how everything is connected. Nothing happens in a vacuum, as we know. That is why holistic, or integrated health practices such as Health Coaching are becoming more and more popular as people realize you need to treat the whole person for most issues. Healthy eating, hydration, and sleep are all connected, and I'll tell you how.
When you're tired you're more apt to try to use food as a way to revitalize your energy levels AND your mood. And which foods do you think you'll reach for to help your mood if you're unaware that's why you're eating? Broccoli or mac and cheese? And if you constantly need your energy levels boosted, you'll constantly be eating to try to fill a need that should be filled by sleep.
Being over-tired can cause insulin resistance and triggers the release of extra stress hormones. If you're a stress eater, guess how this affects you! Stress and insulin resistance also negatively affect gut bacteria which you don't want to mess with as they control metabolism and mood among MANY, MANY other things.
When you're sleeping, you're losing water. You may know that sometimes we mistaken the signals for thirst as hunger signals. Hence, being thirsty can lead to over-eating. And being dehydrated disturbs our sleep which, as we learned, can lead to over eating.
Starting to see the connection?
In health coaching we are sensitive to the fact that everyone is different. We can't make blanket statements like "everyone needs 8hrs of sleep", but we do know that almost everyone needs between 6.5 and 8hrs. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is helpful in establishing a rhythm. Having a glass of water before bed and as soon as you wake up is recommended to help wake up the system and to stay hydrated through the night. Not eating late at night is helpful too. I recommend picking a time between 7-9pm as your cut off.
There are so many tips to try for getting a good night's sleep, but I think we'll stick to the WHY in this blog. In summary, get a good night's sleep and stay hydrated to help with overeating, which will help you stay on track with your health goals!