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Sleep Tight!

I’ve got a question for you that’s important to your fitness goals…(drum roll)
Do you feel you get enough sleep?
I ask because about 28 percent of adults these days report getting 5 or LESS hours of sleep-every night. That’s not nearly enough to let your body “do its thing” – so you can wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized, ready to face a new day. But did you also know that lack of sleep can be detrimental to your waistline?

So am I saying that you can lose weight…in Your sleep? Answer: There’s no doubt about it! Most of us lead extremely BUSY lives but is that a good thing? Not if you’re so busy that you have to sacrifice getting enough sleep or worse-your health. You see a lack of sleep affects an individual’s eating patterns.
A recent study from the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions, suggest that if you plan on successfully getting fit and healthy… you better get proper sleep! [1]
Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D. one of the study’s authors explains,”We tested whether lack of sleep altered the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, increased the amount of food people ate, and affected energy burned through activity.” For this study, researchers recruited 17 healthy young men and women, and divided them into two groups. Group one slept as normal. Second group slept only two-thirds of their normal sleeping time (so if they normally slept for nine hours a night, while under observation they slept only six). This study lasted eight nights and other than the length of sleep, the participants were told to go about their days as normal…eating whatever they would normally eat.
Now, here’s what researchers found…
Even though the folks in group two ended up sleeping just 1 hour and 20 minutes less than the control group (group one), they ate an average of 549 more calories each day! Another finding was that the amount of energy used for activity didn’t change between the two groups, which suggests that sleeping less doesn’t burn more calories (due to being awake longer).
Bottom line: Even sleeping just 90 minutes less than what your body needs can and will cause you to overeat.
So if you want a quick and easy tool to use in the battle of the bulge – get enough sleep… chances are it will cause you to eat less (and not over eat), and burn some fat as a result!
If you don’t sleep enough due to your work schedule, maybe find some time to take a few quick “cat” naps. But if you’re not getting enough sleep due to insomnia (a lot more common now a days), then here are some awesome quick tips you can start using right away that can help you fall asleep faster, and get some much needed rest:
1. Limit caffeine to morning hours. Stop drinking caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime. Or if you think caffeine is really interfering with your sleep, keep your coffee drinking to just the morning hours. And don’t forget that certain sodas and teas contain caffeine, so avoid those in the afternoon as well.
2. Have a glass of milk. Drink a glass of warm milk before bed. It will help you feel sleepy, since it contains high amounts of tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid.
3. Breathe. Wind down before going to bed by doing some deep breathing. Breathe in for a count of four… hold it for at least a count of two… then exhale again for a count of four. Repeat 5 – 10 times and you’ll instantly start to feel the relaxation response in your body.
4. Keep the room cool. Temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit can disrupt sleep. Make sure you keep the room at a temperature in that middle range that feels right to you.
So, get enough sleep every night and remember that this is just one piece of the fat loss puzzle. To truly transform your body, you need to combine all the elements of proper nutrition, proper training and rest.