Friday, September 17, 2010

My Wake-up Call


On my break at work yesterday, I came across "Six Reasons Why You're Overweight". It's basic common sense:

1) not enough sleep

2) eating out too often

3) overindulgence on the weekend

4) food portions too large

5) drinking extra calories

6) not reading food labels correctly.

Some of these reasons may be more or less applicable to your particular situation. You know what applies to you.

I have to say that the one that struck me most forcefully is "not enough sleep".
Not only do we crave unhealthy comfort foods when we’re tired, but our sleep levels are linked to our hormone levels, says Joey Shulman, the Thornhill, Ont.-based author of The Last 15—A Weight Loss Breakthrough. “People who are sleep-deprived tend to have more secretions of the hormone cortisol, so they’re more stressed out. And that’s going to trigger fat storage as well,” she says. Lack of sleep also causes fluctuations in the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, which indicate whether you’re full or hungry.

Ooh that pesky cortisol. There it is again.

As a firm believer in giving it your best shot by doing what you can, rather than setting unattainable goals and inevitably failing, lack of sleep really hit home with me. I know that I tend to sleep poorly, wake up frequently (and not necessarily for a bathroom break--it might also be my hip complaining) and get too little sleep. I also know that I can do something about my sleep, at least in terms of how much sleep I get.

In the past few years, I have been dealing on and off with moderately elevated blood pressure (hypertension). My feeling is that it has a lot to do with stress, but saying lots of "oms" is not necessarily the answer for me. Trying to relax just makes me more stressed out (I bet a lot of you out there feel the same way). And guess what? Some studies show that there is a relationship between not only stress and hypertension, but also lack of sleep and hypertension.

Pardon the pun, but I think this my wake-up call: lights out by 11. No ifs, ands or buts.

Is sleep an issue for you? What about the other things on the "gain weight" list?


  1. I love sleeping. Even at 18 living on my own I would love to go home after work on a Friday and go to sleep... granted I would be out all night Saturday!

    I definitely don't get enough sleep now, between work, the kids, tennis, vball... I know that when I start to get sick (normally a sore throat) that it's usually because I'm lacking on sleep.

    Alright, now I just wanna go to bed - forget work! ;)

  2. yes, not enough sleep = dieting disaster for me...I start to eat to bring my energy up and it's usually something loaded with sugar.

  3. I can't sleep for s*it. I'm thinking of going on long term low dose melatonin, even if just to save my sanity. But I'd have to say eating out too much contributes much more to my weight problems. Drinking my cals doesn't help, but I don't think I do that or overindulge on weekends enough to make a difference. I'm trying really hard to eat in, just spend the last 3 hours cooking, cleaning. But I have lunch for the week, and soup for nights.

  4. Sleep. I love it! I am a napper. I get up early in the morning and then 2 hours later I want to nap. This is every day. Thyroid is part of the issue. I'd just sleep sleep sleep if I could!

  5. I desperately need more sleep. I sleep fitfully, stay up late, get up early, no naps. Ugh.
    Great post, and thanks for the reminder that I really need to start working on the sleep thing for myself.