Burn fat while I sleep? Sign me up!
Are you trying to manufacture energy by injecting yourself with caffeine, sugar, or carbohydrates to get through the day? If the answer is yes, your sleep routine may be in need of a make-over.
Restful, rhythmic, uninterrupted sleep patterns can help the body detoxify, release weight, improve elimination, and support a general sense of well-being.
I know I love the feeling of having a little extra pep in my step with a good night’s rest. Sleep is one of the best things I can do to keep my emotional resiliency and immune system going strong.
Fat Burning Metabolism
The human body is designed to exclusively burn fat through the night. Fat is our calm, steady burning fuel. Fat metabolism assists our body in natural detoxification while we sleep. You might be missing out on this precious cycle if you regularly:
- eat late evening meals
- engage in nighttime snacking
- have sugar or caffeine too late in the day
- under eat throughout the day, then eat the majority of your food from dinner through the evening
- throw off your blood sugar with imbalanced meals
- use food for non-food needs (like entertainment or relaxation)
An occasional late dinner with friends or movie night with popcorn won’t ruin a thing. It is the regular occurrence of those things mentioned above that can make things complicated.
If sleep is a consistent challenge, consider these 5 tips:
1.) Be aware of your sensitivity to caffeine
Everybody’s different on this one. I am still amazed that one of my former employers can drink a cup or two of coffee before bed and fall fast asleep. You will know if that is you. For most, it’s not. If you frequently reach for late afternoon coffee, consider having your last cup of coffee with lunch. Let yourself get a little tired in the afternoon and look forward to restful sleep come the evening. Go ahead and get to bed early if that what you need. It may take a week to get used to, but re-setting your sleep patterns will help you feel far more energized and healthy during the day, with little need for a 4pm pick-me-up.
2.) Watch excess sugar and alcohol in the evening
Again, these can interfere with sound sleep. Both alcohol and sugar consumption in the evening can affect blood sugar levels and lead to trouble sleeping or can cause waking in the middle of the night. I personally know that eating sugar at night is like having a cup of coffee for me. It will keep me up for hours!
3.) Do not undereat during the day
We are physiologically wired to overeat when we are underfed for a period of time. So rather than making less evening eating the goal, first make sure your body is well-nourished during the day. If you do this, a ravenous appetite shouldn’t be nearly as big of an issue in the evening. If you are confused with what “well-nourished” means for your own body, and desire more support around this, contact me here.
4.) Keep your blood sugar balanced
Starting your day with coffee and a banana or any other breakfast that consists of caffeine, carbohydrates, or sugar exclusively, can set yourself up for blood sugar instability throughout the day – meaning you may continue to crave foods that spike your blood sugar throughout the day and through the evening. Whole foods and adequate fat and protein can keep wacky sugar cravings at bay, including those that sneak up on us at night. It is also worth mentioning that blood sugar instability can cause many challenges with erratic moods and emotions that are not part of the regular flow of emotional responses. Balanced meals are critical.
5.) Make sure you are giving yourself exactly what you need
Say you are eating regularly during the day and your meals are beautifully balanced, but for some reason you can’t tear yourself away from the peanut butter pretzels or bowl of late night ice cream. Be aware that something else is wanting to happen for you. What is your evening eating the placeholder for? For many it is a relaxation ritual. For others it is a way to “check out” from the day. Others include: comfort, companionship, intimacy, entertainment, rebellion, reward, etc…Once you are able to identify what you are really craving, you can begin to integrate other rituals that fulfill your true need and allow for sleep minus the full belly. I would consider attention to this detail one of the missing ingredients when it comes to releasing unsupportive food habits. Remember, you eat what you do in the way that you do for a perfectly good reason. Always.
I hope you see some strategies and tweaks you can begin implementing now. I can’t stress the power of adequate sleep enough.
I’d love to hear from you. Are there any other strategies you find help support your sleep? I’d love to know!