When we’re in our teenage years, we often neglect the importance of sleep, and at that time our body can survive through it, seeing that overdrive is its natural state. As we grow older and our lives become more goal-oriented and less driven by hormones’ frenzy, we start to realize how important it is to keep our metabolism in its prime shape in order to function normally in all aspects of life.
Feeling good in your skin is becoming more and more challenging for people and a lot of it has to do with the way you eat and are physically active.
If you’re dealing with image issues and are trying to shape your body so that you’re happy with it, then there are many factors to take into consideration, and sleep is definitely one of them, to the surprise of many. Seeing that how we sleep regulates how we do everything else in life, it’s safe to say (and it’s scientifically proven) that our sleeping patterns, as well as the lack of them, seriously affect how we deal with our overall health, need for exercise and diet decisions.
There are many reasons why sleep is more important than both exercise and diet, and here are just some of them that will make you think twice about how you sleep.
Sleep Deprivation Leads to Scrambled Circadian Rhythm
If you’re wondering what circadian rhythm is, it’s basically your body clock, the way your metabolism works during a 24-hour cycle. Circadian rhythm is also the one that determines whether your bodily processes will work for you or against you and one of its major regulators is sleep and routine. If you constantly sleep less than your body needs and you don’t have a routine when it comes to the time you go to bed and you get up, your metabolism is constantly scrambled because it has no pattern to hold on to in order to keep your health in check.
Whether you’re working long hours or you just can’t stop scrolling through Facebook, if you tire your body without giving it plenty of time to rest, you can expect problems with concentration, as well as less success when it comes to losing weight and making healthy diet decisions. If you want your body to function optimally so that you go through your life without the constant metabolic grogginess, then one of the very first things to do is to get your circadian rhythm in balance, which means sleeping 6-8 hours per night, going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time every day.
How You Eat and How You Sleep Is Entwined
There can be countless reasons you don’t sleep well, sometimes it’s the fact that you’re working too much, then you go out on weekends and hope your body and mind will catch up with everything that still needs to be done. Sometimes reasons are external – it is too hot outside, your bed fellow is a terrible snorer or your new bed is not comfortable enough, but that doesn’t change the fact that you don’t get the shut-eye you desperately need. What we don’t count on is that the lack of sleep that directly affects our poor decisions concerning diet and exercise.
The problem here is that you generally lack the will to do anything diligently, including working out and eating healthy. What’s more, there’s the “hunger syndrome” which makes you feel like you haven’t eaten enough even though you’ve just eaten enough pasta to feed a small army, which in turn leads to poor diet decisions of which your scales will be a tattletale very soon. Then comes the lack of gratification after you’ve eaten which makes you cranky and after that, you’re stuck in a vicious circle. If you’re sleep deprived, you can expect that making yourself to get out for a run will be a complete torture because your brain and your body just don’t have enough energy and even if you do it, the results won’t be as good as you planned.
In short, lack of sleep is an excellent indicator of how your metabolism works like a clock in which everything is connected and if you get sleep out of the equation, chaos ensues.
Without Enough Sleep, Your Hormones Are Working Against You
If you didn’t sleep well last night and you have a sweet tooth, do yourself a favor and don’t get stuck in a candy shop, your hormones will be working against you and you’ll end up buying half of the things in it. There are hormones in your body in charge of cravings and eating habits and when you’re sleep deprived, they tend to go into an overdrive making you feel hungry all the time, not to mention slightly dazed and confused. Ghrelin, for example, is in charge of hunger stimulation, and when your body isn’t rested, you produce more of it, which means that not only will you eat more, but the fats that you do ingest will be stored in all the wrong parts instead of used as fuel for your metabolism. In order to avoid a tired body that produces seas of ghrelin, you need to make yourself sleep well and sleep enough.
We oversee the importance of sleep constantly, or at least while the consequences of it don’t jump us when we least expect it. Though having a sleeping routine can be quite difficult to maintain in today’s world, you should try your best so that you can have a body you want and a metabolism that will be your ally in all your physical endeavors.
Theresa Brawner is a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Boston, MA, who writes articles for www.diet.st. in her free time. When she isn’t helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.