🍎 Health Hack: The Connection Between Sleep & Weight

A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that folks trying to shed at least 10 pounds were more likely to achieve their goal if they slept between 6 to 8 hours a night and had lower stress levels.

A 2004 study by the Stanford School of Medicine found that the less you sleep, the more weight you’ll gain. They found that not getting enough sleep leads to higher levels of appetite-stimulating hormones and lower levels of the hormones that tell us when we’re full. Furthermore, lack of sleep was associated with a higher body mass index (BMI).

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Sleep Hack: Men & Women & Differences in Circadian Rhythms

There’s an important variable that influences your internal clock: sex. It turns out, male and female circadian rhythms don’t exactly match up. Men’s clocks tend to run truer to a full 24-hour cycle or longer (on average, men have a circadian cycle that’s six minutes longer than for women ) meaning they may feel less tired in the evening. In women, the internal clock is more likely to be shorter than a full 24-hour cycle, making it more likely that they will awaken earlier, which may also increase their susceptibility to early-waking sleep disturbances like insomnia.

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To Sleep ~ John Keats

To Sleep

John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
    Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
    Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
    In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
    Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,–
    Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
    Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

Stress Hack: Run Away From Stress

“When you exercise, your brain and nervous system produce more endorphins, which are essentially natural antidepressants— neurotransmitters that make you feel good. Even better, any form of exercise can create this effect, so it doesn’t matter whether you lift weights, jog on the treadmill, or play pickup basketball. As long as you break a sweat, you’ll get this high. There are two other ways that exercise help you squash stress. First, according to the Mayo Clinic, focusing on the tasks associated with training or playing a sport will help you forget about your problems and leave you with a greater sense of calm and clarity. Second, working out relaxes you and boosts your chances of a good night’s sleep, which is another key to fighting stress, anxiety, and depression.”

Source: Muscle and Fitness: Mar2019, Vol. 80 Issue 3, p94-100.

Sleep Hack: Don’t Fight It

“It’s increasingly evident that a sound night’s sleep works wonders for your mood, energy and the long-term health of your brain and body. . . . Mindfulness is a well being practice that’s been on the radar for a while – you can use it to improve your sleep too. Mindfulness is all about acceptance of, but not dwelling on, thoughts and feelings, and instead focusing on your breath and being in the moment. “In this sense, trying to force yourself to fall asleep – or resisting being awake – is a non-starter,” says Anna Black, author of Mindfulness and Sleep. ‘Learn to move from a place of resistance to one of allowing it to be – since it’s already here. Paradoxically, by letting go of the need to fall asleep, you may find that your sleep improves.'”

Source: Good Health (Australian Edition) Aug2019, p24-27. 4p

Sleep Hack: Getting Enough Sleep is Important to Your Gut

“Don’t feel guilty for skipping brunch to get an extra hour under the covers, especially if you haven’t been sleeping right during the week. Researchers are still looking into the gut-sleep relationship to verify if improving your gut health will affect sleep, but there’s definitely a connection between poor sleep and the bacterial environment of your gut. Getting enough sleep helps lower cortisol levels and allows time for the gut to repair itself. So slide your sleep mask back down over your eyes and embrace your next late morning.”

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Sleep Hack: Sleep & Longevity

The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life,” as Walker starkly puts it. As far as how to improve your sleep and, with luck, elongate your life, he has two main pieces of advice: “Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, no matter whether it’s the weekday or the weekend,” and “aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65 degrees, or about 18 degrees Celsius,” slightly cooler than may feel normal.

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Sleep Hack: Read This & Take a Power Nap

Whether you’re heading to class or just trying to learn a new skill, making sure you’re well-rested beforehand can make a big difference, research from Berkeley suggests. A study done at the school found that sleeping for an hour dramatically boosts and restores brain power, in turn making it easier to learn and retain new information. Sleep clears out our short-term memory, making room for new information and priming us to be better, more efficient learners.

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Sleep Hack: Get the ZZZZ’s to Remember

Not only, for example, do “you need sleep after learning to essentially hit the save button on those new memories so that you don’t forget,” you also “need sleep before learning to actually prepare your brain, almost like a dry sponge ready to initially soak up new information.”

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