Best Kept Weight Loss Secret
Have you been spinning your wheels trying to reach your ideal health and weight loss goals with little to no success?
Have you been working out more and eating less, eating clean and lifting weights like a machine, but your body just won’t budge?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just sleep the weight off and reach your health goals overnight?
Sleep is the best-kept secret to unleashing your health potential and weight loss.
Sleep is 100 times more influential for weight loss than any diet or workout routine, yet it’s the number one most neglected aspect of most health improvement and weight loss programs.
Getting adequate and restful sleep contributes to improved health and weight loss by:
- Promoting natural cortisol and other hormone patterns which dictate health and weight
- Turning off the “fight or flight” stress response so the body can rest and digest
- Allowing the body to repair damaged cells and dysfunctional systems
- Letting the liver ramp up at night up to get rid of fat inducing toxins
- Curbing cravings for less healthy foods, especially for carbs
- Supporting normal insulin and blood sugar levels
Ten out of ten times I will tell my clients to choose sleep over exercise any day of the week. Especially if they are feeling tired, stressed or having to drag themselves out of bed.
Research shows that just ONE NIGHT of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in even healthy individuals. Insulin resistance leads directly to carb cravings, feelings of fatigue, irritability, weight gain, hormone imbalances and eventually serious health conditions, such as Type II Diabetes.
Other studies such as this one also show how sleep loss or poor sleep results in elevated cortisol levels, which lowers your ability to handle stress, has a direct domino effect on thyroid and other hormones, and particularly contributes to weight gain around the middle.
Staying up late watching TV or burning the midnight oil to meet work deadlines is likely one of the biggest reasons you’re not reaching your health and weight goals, regardless of what you eat or how much you exercise.
Sleep is not just about quantity, it’s about quality.
Your body has an internal timer set by the cycles of the sun and moon known as the circadian rhythm. When the sun sets, it signals your body to lower cortisol and release melatonin in preparation for sleep. And when the sun rises, it triggers the reverse: cortisol to go up for energy and melatonin to go down.
This internal timer and cycle of hormones tells your body when to conduct specific actions throughout the day, when to repair systems and when to replenish cells during your sleep.
In this week’s video and blog, I’ll shed more light on why sleep is the best kept secret for health and weight loss, and how you can ensure satisfying sleep to support your health goals.
Critical sleep time is from 10pm-2am and ideal sleep time is from is 10pm-6am.
Essential sleep time kicks off a few hours after sun down, around 10pm. According to your circadian rhythm, this is when your body starts to release hormones such as HGH (Human Growth Hormone) to help replenish your adrenal glands which regulate primarily cortisol hormone but also assist in the production of other hormones. Balanced cortisol levels are necessary for stable energy, weight loss, regulating blood sugar and inflammation, and striking a balance with the rest of your hormones, such as thyroid.
As an added bonus, your body also uses HGH as an anti-aging hormone, tool!
If you miss the critical sleep time from 10pm-2am, there’s NO getting it back.
No matter how much you sleep, you’ll never be able to make up for the time lost with your internal clock.
Remember, your internal clock is determined by the sun and moon cycles, according to your circadian rhythm. There is no such thing as body daylight savings, and your body won’t change its clock just because you choose to stay up late.
So your first goal is to BE ASLEEP by 10pm as many nights per week as possible.
Not just in bed, but actually asleep by 10pm. Once you get into this routine, you’ll surely notice a difference. Once on this ideal sleep schedule, I’ve had clients report that they feel “hungover” if they are asleep at 10:15pm versus full of energy when they are asleep by 10pm.
To help you hit critical sleep time and ensure satisfying sleep to support your health and weight loss goals, here are 3 quick tips…
#1 – Unplug.
Exposure to bright lights from devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc.) can trick our body into thinking it is still daylight outside and alter your body’s signaling to lower cortisol and release melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep. Even the lights in your house can do this. Plan to unplug from all your devices and dim the lights at 9pm. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to unplug in preparation for a good night’s rest.
#2 – Minerals Over Melatonin.
Most people are deficient in minerals due to toxic exposures that strip the body of minerals and our food supply which is just less nutrient dense, even when it’s organic. Minerals are a key ingredient needed to help us sleep, to replenish hormones and support our adrenals which also help to regulate our sleep cycles. Too much melatonin can leave you drowsy or eventually negatively impact your circadian rhythm, and is sometimes just a band-aid for a mineral deficiency or poor sleep habits.
My husband as well as my clients adoringly call this mineral supplement the “nightmare pills” because of the vivid dreams experienced upon introducing them. But these vivid dreams are a good sign! Dreams indicate REM cycles are being hit throughout the night and deeper, more satisfying and nourishing sleep is happening.
#3 – Nighttime Snack.
Yes, it’s ok to eat before bed as needed. If you find yourself feeling “wired but tired” or frequently waking up between 2am-4am, then this could indicate that your blood sugar has dropped resulting in a release of cortisol and jolt of energy. A high fat and/or protein dinner or snack approximately 1 hour before bedtime will help keep your blood sugar balanced and cortisol in check through the night.
A post dinner high fat and/or protein snack could be as simple as protein bar, scoop of organic nut butter, handful of nuts or my recent personal favorite homemade avocado chocolate ice cream that can also be eaten as pudding!
If you still have trouble falling or staying asleep after trying these 3 things, there could be a deeper problem to investigate, such as parasites, bacteria or yeast overgrowth in your gut spiking cortisol levels at night, an underlying thyroid condition, an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen or deep rooted insulin resistance that needs reversing.
If you’re not sure about the quality of your sleep there are a lot of great devices and apps to help you track it such as FitBit, Spire, Oura, and the Sleepscore Labs and Sleep Time app.
If you really want to put your sleep issues to rest and support your body in achieving your ideal health and weight, then let me help you get your hands on the right lab tests and resources so you can find the missing pieces and get back to feeling like yourself again (or for the very first time!)