Lose weight and look younger – just by sleeping more!

Everyone knows that babies and children need a good night’s sleep (and often some daytime naps) for proper brain development, growth, and overall happiness. But, often as we enter adulthood, sleep is the first thing we sacrifice in order to get through that daily to-do list – in fact many will even brag about how little sleep they can survive on! They may be “surviving” but they are definitely not doing their body, mind or health any favors.

Many studies and articles have been published about the benefits of sleep – most notably were maintaining or losing weight and looking younger. See what else you can gain by getting a few more hours of shut-eye every night!

  1. Stop those extra pounds from creeping on: Researchers at the Uppsala University in Sweden found that lack of sleep dramatically slows your metabolism. When your metabolism slows down you will gain weight even if you don’t increase your caloric intake. Many woman experience a naturally slowing metabolism as they enter their 40s – you certainly don’t want to slow it down any more by staying up late!
  2. Look and feel younger: We’ve all had it – dark circles under your eyes and washed-out or pale skin from a few nights of missed sleep, imagine what that is doing to your skin if you continue that pattern. Long-term sleep loss can lead to sagging skin, lines, wrinkles and bags under your eyes – they don’t call it beauty rest for nothing!Your body releases too much cortisol, the stress hormone, when it is sleep deprived. Cortisol can break down collagen, which is the protein that keeps skin smooth and supple. On the flip side your body will not release enough human growth hormones when you skimp on sleep, which is needed to maintain muscle mass, thicken skin and keep your bones strong – all accelerating the aging process both internally and externally!
  3. Improve your memory and concentration: Most would agree they have problems concentrating and staying focused the day after a bad night’s sleep – chronic sleep problems have been linked to poor work performance, traffic accidents and other performance problems.When you fall into a deep sleep your brain sorts through all the impressions and experiences for that day – essentially filing them away in your memory! If you never achieve that level of sleep or it is cut short your brain is unable to complete this process.
  4. You’ll be in a great mood: The next line in Pharrell’s song “Happy” should have been “because I got plenty of sleep last night!”. Well maybe that isn’t as catchy as his lyrics but it is definitely the truth – it’s hard to be in a good mood if you wake-up looking awful, can’t concentrate and feel achy and out of sorts all over. That’s enough to even make Pharrell cranky!
  5. Improve creativity and problem solving: While you are sleeping your brain is still working and because it isn’t facing normal distractions of everyday life, it is often able to come up with solutions to problems, questions and challenges that have been plaguing you.
  6. You’ll live longer and are less likely to get sick: According to recent research, people who sleep for more than 7 hours a night are less likely to die sooner than individuals in the same age group who regularly sleep for fewer than 6 hours a night.Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that sleeping less than 7 hours per night greatly increased your likelihood for catching a cold. Lack of sleep suppresses your immune system making you more susceptible to getting sick and lengthening your recovery time!

How to catch more Zzzzz’s

There are many simple things you can start doing today to ensure you get better sleep tonight. Cut out caffeine after 2pm, no screen time (computer, TV, tablets, phones, etc) 30 minutes before bedtime, set a regular bedtime and wake-up time, keep your blinds closed, and room set at a cool temperature. These easy changes will help get your body in a routine and increase the amount of sleep you get each night; you will start to feel and see the effects immediately.