It started innocently enough. I’d been working longer hours, spending more time at the computer, eating the wrong stuff on the run and not taking the time to exercise. When I called my best friend and told him I was certain someone was shrinking my underpants in the middle of the night, I finally faced the fact that I had to do something about it. I had gained weight and it was no longer something I could ignore.
Maybe some of you can relate to this.
Then, I got a call from my financial advisor asking me for help with his weight problem. He’d been going to a lot of social gatherings and eating as he went, to the point that he was uncomfortable with the weight he’d gained. As we talked, he told me that when he sits down to eat he can hear his mother’s voice telling him to eat everything on his plate, and that he couldn’t go out to play until he ate everything.
Ah, the power of the programming we received between the ages of 0 and 8 is amazing. Those voices can still ring loud and clear in our minds.
About a week later I got a call from a dear friend asking me if I could help her with – guess what? – releasing some weight that she’d gained!
It was no surprise, then, when I was at dinner with a friend last week and he told me about the research that shows that sleep deprivation is a cause of weight gain.
So, here’s the bottom line: STRESS leads to SLEEP DEPRIVATION which can lead to WEIGHT GAIN.
Now, many of us may be feeling stress on many different levels. Places to go, people to see, things to do. Or not. Maybe the Hallmark family isn’t on the card at your house or perhaps you’ve gone through a transition and your family has changed. Maybe you’re going to parties where there’s lots of food and drinking, and your normal patterns are different. Changes and uncertainty in our world seem to be confronting us everywhere we turn.
Excitement and anxious anticipation can both cause stress.
And, yet, it’s important to remember that you have a choice. It’s essential to remember that your thoughts, your feelings, your expectations, create the experiences of your life. You ARE in control.
In the process, though, you need to take the necessary steps to support your body in supporting your mind to create the life you love to live! It’s important that you honor yourself, your body, your emotions, your mind, your spirit with the essential ingredients for a life that is full and fulfilled! As you take the time and give yourself the gift of a full night’s sleep, reduced stress, and a healthy body you are affirming that you count, that you are worthy and that you deserve to BE, HAVE, and DO all the very best in life!
It’s been estimated that stress is a contributing factor in 95% of all major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Obesity also increases the risk for these conditions. So, too, does sleep deprivation.
Interesting enough, insufficient sleep and stress are interrelated. They each cause each other, based on the research, and the symptoms are nearly identical once we get beyond the weight.
Here’s the skinny (so to speak!) on the research on the effects of sleep deprivation:
- Too little sleep can make you fat.
- It increases levels of the hunger hormone (ghrelin), which makes you feel hungry.
- It decreases levels of the hormone that makes you feel full (leptin), which increases your appetite.
- The most sleep-deprived subjects in one study craved carbohydrate-rich foods, including cakes, candy, ice cream, pasta and bread.
- Sleep-deprived people eat more because they’re hungrier and are more sedentary, burning fewer calories, because they don’t have the energy they need.
- Growth hormones that control the body’s proportion of muscle to fat are reduced, so there is a tendency for the body to store fat.
- Sleep debt causes insulin-resistance, a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
- Sleep deprivation causes a reduced ability to fight off infection.
- Insufficient sleep has been linked to high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and arthritis.
- Increased stress hormone (cortisol) which can be an indicator of internal damage to your organs long-term
- Daytime drowsiness and unintended sleep episodes, including car accidents
- Reduced immunity to disease
- Reduced creativity, vocabulary and communication skills
- Upset mental processes with confusion, memory loss, irritability or emotional highs and lows, and reduced productivity
- And, of course, it causes stress.
Now, 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 63% of American adults don’t get the sleep they need each night. Which means there’s a lot of stress going on out there. And, getting enough sleep is the foundation for managing it all.
Sleep is essential for your mind to process and resolve the events from the day, and for your body to renew and restore so that you can wake up clear, energetic, refreshed, balanced and ready for the new day ahead. It’s an essential tool that you need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to greet the moments that lie ahead as you consciously create each day full of peace, joy, love, and plenty!
Here are 10 suggestions for getting a good night’s sleep:
1. Lay the groundwork for your success. Have a regular exercise program of at least 20 minutes three to four times a week. Develop a meditation practice or listen to a good hypnosis CD that will relax your mind and your body. Hypnosis and meditation have been shown to reduce the effects of every day stress, and actually condition the body and mind to enter a relaxed state easily.
2. Turn off the television in the half hour before you go to sleep. Get to bed earlier to give yourself plenty of time for a full 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
3. Give yourself a positive suggestion for a good night of sleep. Here’s one of my favorites: “Tonight when I sleep, I will sleep quickly, calmly, soundly and very deeply. When I wake up in the morning I will be wide awake, alert, well-rested, energized and looking forward to the new day ahead!”
4. If your mind is “busy” with problem thoughts from the day, create a box on a shelf in the closet of your mind to put those thoughts into while you sleep. You can open the box in the morning if you choose, but the thoughts have a place to stay while you have this time to rest, renew, and restore.
5. Another practical tool is to create a “God Box”. Any box will do. Write out any problem, worry, doubt or fear and place it into your God box. Once you’ve turned your problem over to God, it is no longer any of your business. Know that your problem is being handled by a higher Source and trust that everything is being handled perfectly.
6. If you are hypoglycemic (prone to low blood sugar) it’s often helpful to eat a small slice of turkey (fresh cut, please, not the processed varieties!) or a piece of cheese and a small glass of milk before you go to bed. This protein can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and allow you to experience a good night’s rest.
7. Practice deep breathing as you lie in bed to oxygenate and relax your body. Focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath, the gentle movement in and out.
8. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and has a comfortable temperature. If you choose to listen to music, choose soothing sounds that help you feel peaceful.
9. Before you go to sleep, do some evening journaling. Write out 10 good things you’ve done that day or good things that happened for you. Write out 10 things you’re grateful for. Write out one thing from your day that you would do differently if you had the chance to do it again. Then, write a full page of affirmations to send your mind to sleep powered with wonderful thoughts that will shift your life experiences in the days ahead.
10. As you drift off to sleep, run the mental movie of what you choose for your life as if it is your reality now. Allow the thoughts of what you choose to float through your mind as you drift off to a peaceful night’s sleep – love, joy, peace, prosperity, health, freedom, happiness, success, great relationships, fun. The very best of everything that life has to offer!
You deserve it!
About the author:
Transformation Expert Debbie Friedman, M.S., C.Ht. is a scientist who has turned her attention from the Study of Nature to the Study Of Our Nature as human beings. An inspiring speaker and author, Debbie’s revolutionary programs on CD and in print include Cleaning Out the Closet of Your Mind and Manifesting Made Easy.
Debbie is the President and CEO of Cleaning Out The Closet Of Your Mind, Inc. She balances her international speaking and training seminars with a private practice in Southern California where she conducts workshops, teleconferences, and seminars. Visit www.CleaningOutTheCloset.com to claim 2 free audios and 7 beginning steps to Living The Life You Love To Live.
It will look like this: 10 Tips For Getting a Good Night Sleep