Stress and diets don’t mix

Seriously, when you are stressed there is one of two reactions, you eat everything in sight or you eat nothing at all. Why can’t there be a middle ground?

All the articles I read tell me to exercise, eat slowly, eat healthy, and sleep. Hello, I did not need research to tell me that… I am on a clean eating diet, I eat slower than I used to by a LOT, I walk my happy little shoes all the time… what am I missing?  SLEEP

Who knew? Did you guess that sleep deprivation would be such a strong trigger for weight gain?  How’s this: “Sleeping less than five hours — or more than nine hours — a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain. In one study, recurrent sleep deprivation in men increased their preferences for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake.”  This is according to the Mayo Clinic. (Is too little sleep a cause of weight gain? By Donald Hensrud, M.D. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-and-weight-gain/faq-20058198)

Ah crap. I average about 4.5… I’m screwed.  So of course my next set of research led me to how the heck to stop this!

Here are a few things I learned:

Figure out a bedtime for yourself. Start with when you need to wake up, and count back 7.5 hours, and that is your lights out time.

Keep the wake up time consistent. That means you get up MOST days at this time.  Not saying don’t sleep in on your days off!  (Though you could use the time for a nice walk!)

LifeStyle had a cute article about “9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep)”. Here is the link to the article: http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-fall-asleep-fast/?partner=huff&mtype=5&sub_id=04142015_sleepdeprivation&utm_source=huff&utm_medium=huff&utm_campaign=04142015_sleepdeprivation&utm_content=04142015_sleepdeprivation

To sum it up:

  1. Wind down 60 minutes before the prescribed bed time (see earlier for how to determine your bed time.)
  2. Take a warm shower or bath. (I have started showering with a little lavender oil… oddly it helps.)
  3. Put socks on.
  4. Alternate your breathing pattern (one option according to the article is inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds.)
  5. Don’t go to bed until you are sleepy
  6. Practice calming techniques during the day, not at night (Hmmm.. I use an app for this and the article says that my electronic device should not be in the room…)
  7. Get out of bed if you feel tense. Come back when you are sleepy
  8. Hide your clock (This is where they say no phones!)
  9. Vent on paper

My name is Nancy, and I am chronically sleep deprived. According to this, my bed time should be 9:00 (I wake up at 4:30am.) I typically go to sleep around 11pm.  I guess if I am really going to work on myself, this is within my power to do.  I don’t want to be unhealthy, and I am looking at all areas of life for where I make poor choices.  Depriving myself of sleep is certainly an area upon which I can improve. So, I am going to try to get to bed a little earlier every night with the hopes that by next week, I will be in bed and ready to sleep at 9.

And just to set the record straight, all the research states, you can’t make up sleep once you have lost it, but you can correct chronic sleep deprivation by changing your behaviors.

Here’s to you and I getting some much needed rest!

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