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This sleep habit sabotages weight loss

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Sleep problems are bad enough: you feel unfit, have a headache, and can hardly concentrate. And now bad sleep is supposed to have a negative impact on your weight? That's not the only reason why it's time for you to do something about your sleep worries.

You're probably familiar with the usual tips: drink less coffee and alcohol, don't do intensive exercise before falling asleep, and much more. Do you stick to it and still feel sleepy in the morning? A new study has the possible answer, which also makes a surprising connection to problems losing weight. With our tips you can eliminate the cause.

How does poor sleep affect health and body weight?

A new one, at the Northwestern University A study carried out in Illinois, USA, has now found a completely new clue as to why it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. And this trigger for poor sleep can also be or become the cause of obesity and serious health problems.

The scientists in this small study found that the bodies of sleepers who are only exposed to short or light light during sleep have less relaxed and deep sleep. And not only that: important nightly regeneration processes in the body are also impaired.

Even occasional headlights from cars driving past the bedroom window or the glowing LED display of a digital clock on the bedside table are enough to have negative effects on sleep, according to the scientists led by study leader Dr. Phyllis Zee.

And the implications are significant: “The study results show that a single night of exposure to moderate light during sleep can affect blood sugar and cardiovascular regulation, which are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome “, explains Dr. Zee. It is therefore of great health importance, says the head of the Institute for Sleep Medicine at the Northwestern University School of Medicine Continue to minimize or avoid light as much as possible during sleep.

How does light affect the body at night?

Light during the day is known to increase heart rate by activating the sympathetic nervous system. It makes your heart beat faster to activate the alertness you need for the day. But the fact that slight brightness from lanterns or car headlights coming through the curtains can trigger the sympathetic nervous system is new.

In addition, people who slept in a brighter room showed signs of insulin resistance the next morning. This means their bodies had difficulty converting sugar from their blood into energy, causing blood sugar levels to rise. This supports the thesis of numerous scientific studies that there is a connection between poor sleep and body weight gain.

Other studies also show that not only the length of sleep, but also the quality of sleep plays an important role in health.

A study published in the Diabetes Journal showed that sleep interruptions, which can include light stimuli, even if they do not result in conscious awakening, negatively affect sleep. You then reach the deep sleep phase, known as REM sleep, which is important for the regeneration of the body. During this sleep phase, the body releases growth hormones, which stimulate the regeneration of all body cells and strengthen the immune system.

The many negative health consequences of a lack of deep sleep for the body also include an increased “drive” in eating behavior, which can lead to food cravings.

How can I improve my sleep quality in the long term so that I can lose weight better?

There are numerous options for this, you can find the most important ones here. But like the study of Northwestern Univeristy shows, you should pay particular attention to your sleeping environment and the lighting conditions.

These useful tools, among others, can provide relief:

  • opaque curtains and blinds,
  • Alarm clocks whose display light goes out automatically in the dark or only illuminates their display at the push of a button, e.g. B. this analogue alarm clock from Eachui in a vintage look.
  • Sleep masks that should fit well and comfortably. Especially when you're on the go, you should always have one with you.

Sleep quality and body weight have a proven connection, although sleep quality can be surprisingly severely affected by even a small amount of light. In the future, pay more attention to a consistently dark sleeping environment; your health and weight management will benefit from this.

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