Sleep is a cornerstone of long-term brain health and vibrant energy. It also plays a surprising part in weight control. Many studies have shown that chronic failure to get enough sleep increases the risk of being overweight or obese. You should get at least seven hours of sleep per night, that is why I want to discuss the new challenge I recommend for you to take.
Sleep deprivation lowers levels of leptin (the hormone that tells you to stop eating when you’re full), and increases levels of the hormone ghrelin (which promotes appetite) and levels of orexin, a neurotransmitter that increases food cravings. In other words you actually feel fuller, more satiated, and get thinner by sleeping!
Being overtired also interrupts healthy glucose metabolism, making your body more resistant to insulin, which over time can lead to type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep is also linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, and increased risk of car accidents, depression, and substance abuse. And you don’t need scientific research to tell you that when people are exhausted they become forgetful, inattentive, and irritable.
You are more likely to make poor decisions when you don’t get enough sleep. When you feel refreshed and rested, you feel energized, think clearly, and are much more likely to make smart choices about eating and exercising.
One study conducted on soldiers to test the effect of sleep on accuracy with firearms showed that soldiers who slept seven hours were 98% accurate during target practice. Soldiers who slept six hours were only 50% accurate. With five hours of sleep accuracy dropped to 28%, and with four hours of sleep they were a dangerous 15% accurate!
The Two-Week Sleep Hygiene Challenge
During the next two weeks, I want you to focus on improving your sleep. If you have been following the Omni Diet, you may already have noticed a dramatic improvement in your sleep patterns. If not, now’s the time to find out why sleep eludes you and ways to improve it.
During the first week of the Sleep Hygiene Challenge, work on assessing your sleep and making whatever changes are necessary to improve it. For the duration of the challenge, focus on correcting anything that is hindering your “zzzzs.” Once you improve your sleep, you’ll see a big difference in your mood and your health 24 hours a day.
Week 1: Ask Yourself: What is Keeping You Awake?
Assess for the following:
In next week’s blog, Part 2 of the Holiday Sleep Hygiene Challenge, I will give you the tips for a restful night’s sleep. Please keep me posted on the progress of your sleep assessment.
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