Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Sleep is evading me, or I'm evading it. I'm not sure which is the case, but either way, I am not sleeping enough.

I have a few outside circumstances that are keeping me from sleeping. I have a four year old, who is having some trouble sleeping lately. He has gotten into a really wonky sleep cycle due to nightmares. We're working with his pediatrician with a couple of different trial and error based scenarios, but in the mean time, it means things are difficult. I also have an almost 4 month old, who wakes up usually once, and sometimes twice, during the night.

In addition to the things I can't control, I am having trouble winding down every night, and I'm finding myself staying up until I'm falling over, which is typically around midnight or 1:00am. Combine that with being woken up at least four times, and the alarm going off at 6:30, and you get one exhausted me.

I'm acutely aware of how important sleep is to a healthy lifestyle, and specifically a weight loss journey. This can be confirmed in many places and articles available on the internet. One such article from about.com states research from The National Sleep Foundation has found that inadequate sleep:

•interferes with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.

•drives down leptin levels, which causes the body to crave carbohydrates.

•reduces levels of growth hormone--a protein that helps regulate the body's proportions of fat and muscle.

•can lead to insulin resistance and contribute to increased risk of diabetes

•can increase blood pressure

•can increase the risk of heart disease

Even in young, healthy people, a sleep deficit of three to four hours a night over the course of a week has a triple-whammy effect on the body.

I am working to find ways to make up for my lack of sleep each night. I am going to start working to get to bed at a decent hour, because at the very least I have control over that aspect of my sleep. I really feel as though this is affecting my journey. Granted, I'm losing weight; but I'm definitely looking to maximize my results, and losing sleep will definitely prevent that.

So, I'm working toward another goal, of at least 7 hours of sleep a night. It's a difficult goal, but my health is worth it. I am worth it. I'm worth this.

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