Hi everyone, this is Mike Uhrlaub and there’s something that I really want to talk about today that is really important. In weight loss there is one really important secret that it’s kind of overlooked and most of us don’t really even think about it very much. I think most of us tend to burn our candle at both ends.
I definitely did that when I was trying to lose weight. I would work out, plan my diet, put my meals together, chopping up veggies, getting everything together. I was trying to balance sticking to my diet, work, family life, home commitments, you name it. I was trying to do it all. And you know, there were times where I was waking up at 4:30 in the morning and not going to bed until 11:00 PM or later. The funny thing is I would often brag about how little sleep I could get and still function. I used to be proud of how I would function on four to five hours of sleep and be fine. How many of you have either said that same thing or heard that from someone else?
It seems to be a trend in our society right now. Getting by on less and less sleep is seen as something to be proud of and is becoming expected as our lives get busier and busier. But what I realized is that the lack of sleep really took a toll on everything from my attitude to my ability to think, concentrate, and process things. More over I noticed that it was significantly impacting my ability to lose weight. You see, I found that when I didn’t sleep, I didn’t lose weight as quickly. I learned that getting the right amount of sleep is one of the hidden secrets in weight loss. No matter what you think, science has proven, we all require seven to eight hours of sleep a night. I know there’s some of you out there that might be saying, “but Mike, I am just fine on four to five hours of sleep.”
The reality of it is physiologically you’re probably not. Here’s the thing, if you don’t get seven to eight hours of sleep, which has scientifically been to determined to be that magic window, it has a huge impact on your ability to lose weight. Albert Einstein, is considered on of the smartest men who ever lived. I mean, I think the man was a genius and it was found that Albert Einstein would get 10 hours of sleep a night. If a guy who was a genius, probably one of the smartest guys who ever lived, knew he needed 10 hours of sleep, what does that tell you?
Alarmingly, you are not alone, one third of all Americans don’t get enough sleep. In 1910, the average American used to get nine hours of sleep. Now the average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep. 31% of all Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep.
This lack of sleep not only makes you cranky and believe me, it does make you cranky, but it also affects all aspects of your life. Sleep is required in order for your body to heal. As you rest your body is going through all of its repair processes. Sleep is required in order to cleanse your brain of the neurotoxins that are produced during the day. In fact, one of the reasons that scientists think we’re seeing more Alzheimer’s and Dementia is because we are not getting enough sleep. Our brains are not going through the cleansing process in order to keep the brain tissue healthy, which means that we end up with more brain atrophy and lower function as we get older.
As if that were not enough a lack of sleep has also been shown to increase cravings and the amount of eating an individual does throughout the day. It has been shown to increase snacking, increase the cortisol levels in your body, and decrease your insulin sensitivity.
In case you are asking what is cortisol and insulin? Cortisol is a stress hormone and when it’s produced it signals your body to conserve energy for fuel. So when you’re not getting enough sleep your body starts producing more cortisol. As those cortisol levels go up, your body moves into a “stressed” state and thinks we have to hold on to this body fat because we may need it.
Now, insulin is a hormone that unlocks the cells ability to use glucose as energy. When you eat food it is digested, broken down into sugar, which becomes a glucose in your blood and your body uses that as energy. The insulin is like a key that fits in the lock of the cell and opens it up so the glucose can get into the cell. We call that glucose uptake. Once this happens the cell has energy in which to function on the cellular level. If it is not sensitive enough to the insulin and that insulin sensitivity drops then the glucose can’t get into the cell. That’s when the glucose ends up going to the liver and into the body as body fat. That’s where you end up with things like a fatty liver and obviously more body fat.
The bottom line is a lack of sleep contributes to weight gain.
So how do you get more sleep? There are 5 Steps to Getting Good Sleep….
Step One: Get a good mattress.
First of all, if your current mattress is more than five years old, there’s really a good chance you may need to replace it. I want you to go home and take a look at your current mattress. Strip all the sheets and blankets off so you can look at your mattress. Get down at eye level and look across it. If you can see the indentation of your body, then it’s time to get a new one.
There are a lot of different mattresses out there. When you go to look for a new mattress you want one that is supportive and you want one that keeps your spine in a neutral position. You don’t want one that’s too hard and you don’t want one that’s too soft. Personally, I like to use the Nectar mattress, I found it to be extremely comfortable. I actually recommend the Nectar mattress to my back pain clients.
You can check them out at nectarsleep.com, but there are a lot of other good mattresses out there such as Serta and Sealy. The trick is to find the one that’s comfortable, supportive, and feels right for you.
Step Two: Melatonin.
Melatonin is an over the counter supplement that will work closely with your body’s circadian rhythm to help prepare you for sleep. Melatonin is actually produced by the pineal gland and is a hormone that helps signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep. It has been found that many individuals are not making enough of this and a little supplementation can go a long way. Start with about 3 to 5 milligrams, about 45 minutes before bedtime, and you’ll start to notice a big difference in your ability to shut down.
Step Three: Caffeine.
You’ve got to cut out the caffeine at night. Don’t take any caffeine after 6:00 PM. Caffeine is a stimulant. It is going to prevent your body from shutting down. So no red bulls, no monster energy drinks, no tea after 6:00 PM all right? You’ve got to shut that down.
Number Four: Turn off the electronics.
Shut down your electronics at least one hour or before going to bed. This is extremely important. Do not lay in bed and watch TV. Don’t lay in bed and surf on your phone or use your iPad. This allows your brain to shut down and prepares you for sleep. Think of your brain like a computer. Alright? You’ve got to turn your computer off at times so it can complete updates and doesn’t overheat. That’s what we’re doing to our brain. So instead of watching TV in bed, you should read a book or read a magazine to help yourself shut down.
Step Number Five: Meditate.
Guided meditation right before you go to bed helps you to regulate your breathing pattern. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the calming side of your nervous system, and this signals your body that it’s time to shut down. It’s going to start falling asleep. There are a lot of apps out there such as Calm or Simple Habit. In fact, I’ve been using the Simple Habit app on a regular basis for awhile and half the time I start to fall asleep before the meditation app is actually done. It’s a wonderful way to go to sleep. Make sure that the environment is ready for sleep. Ideally you want the room to be dark, quiet, and you want to be in a comfortable position when meditating.
So use these five steps, get a good mattress, take some melatonin, (3 to 5 milligrams) about 45 minutes before you go to sleep, stop all caffeine by 6:00 PM at night, stop electronic use one hour before you go to bed and start doing guided meditation.
If you do this you will create a sleep routine. Your body will start to get used to that and help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. You’ll find that not only will you start to think better in the morning, but you’re going to be less stressed and more fun to be around.
And the best part is that you’re going to lose weight faster. How awesome is that?
Now, I wanted to give you guys an update on where we’re at with our new 4 Week Weight Loss System for Busy Moms and Dads. It is almost done and I am so excited for this. This is going to be absolutely amazing. We’re just waiting on a few final items to be completed and we’re going to be ready for launch. I anticipate we should have everything ready for launch in the next 10 days. I wanted to do something special for those of you that have been following me. Since you are reading this, I have a special offer just for you. If you send us your email through the Facebook messenger and indicate that you are interested in the 4 Week Weight Loss Program we will send you a special discount code that you can use at launch to discount the program.
This is only for a limited time. Once we launch the program we will no longer offer this discount. So if you are interested find us on Facebook at “Flex Physical Therapy” and send us your email through the Facebook messenger app so you can get the prelaunch discount.
Till next time remember, get some sleep, focus on the five steps, stay healthy and keep moving forward. We’ll see you later.