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Tuesday
Oct062015

Why You're Not Sleeping

Although we likely know the impacts shortchanging sleep imposes on our health and weight, the majority of us still don't get enough rest.

Most of us even know we're short on shut-eye. Maybe we want to change our ways and make earnest attempts at earlier bedtimes, but somehow our good intentions never quite result in a full night's rest. 

For better or worse, there isn’t one solution that works for everyone (although certain biology based strategies tend to hold). Finding the best fix for your sleep situation has everything to do with understanding and addressing what got you to those sleepless nights from the start.

Read on to learn the top reasons our clients struggle with sleep - and the solutions that have worked for them! 

You’re not setting the stage.

Many variables can strongly influence your sleep quality, including where you sleep, what you are sleeping on, what time you’re going to bed, etc. 

Just as the table is symbolic and important for eating, a bed and bedroom are significant for your sleep time.  I’m always surprised at how often my clients end up greatly improving their sleep by just purchasing a new mattress that fits their preferences for support and comfort. 

Also, confirm that your sleeping environment is dark and quiet, and stick to a consistent bedtime every night to improve your chances of falling and staying asleep.

You’re overly stimulated.

Do you consider yourself a night owl? Perhaps you can’t shut your brain down or feel that you are the most productive at that time of the day. 

A stimulated mind and body can keep you wide awake in bed for hours. I’ve had many clients complain that they fully intend to get a good night’s sleep but after many unsuccessful attempts, they feel they're doomed to insomnia. 

If you enjoy caffeinated beverages such as coffee or tea, make sure you don’t consume them past noon to avoid any residual impact by nighttime. If you enjoy working out in the late evening, understand that you might be releasing extra endorphins that could keep you awake. 

Stress hormones play a role, too. So, if you find yourself awake thinking about work or other responsibilities, try keeping a journal or list next to your bed where you can write down everything going through your mind. Alternatively, consider trying other stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing.

You’re a rebel.

You either think you don’t need as much sleep as everyone else, or you don’t like the idea of having to go to bed at a certain time!  With the average American putting in long hours at the office, often accompanied by 2 hours of commute time, it doesn’t leave much room in the day to just sit and relax. 

We all require 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to support optimal health, healthy blood sugar and energy regulation as well as hormonal balance. All of these physical processes can be impacted if your sleep is cut short. Find a balance between work and play, and make sure you're allowing for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. 

Your melatonin tanks are depleted.

We’ve raved about the benefits of melatonin before. Stimulated by darkness, melatonin is considered a primary hormone that helps you fall and stay asleep.

However, many of us have depleted tanks often due to chronic stress. If all of the other reasons above have been explored, it’s very possible your melatonin tanks are low. A supplement form of melatonin is available.  Start at the minimum (1 to 3 milligrams) and increase dosage as needed. Once you find your sweet spot, your body should be able to fall into a deep sleep, and you’ll wake up refreshed. Everyone is a little different as to how much and how long they need supplement support. 

Would you like more support around improving your sleep quality? Talk with one of our registered dietitians or weight loss coaches today! Thanks for reading. 

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

 This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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