Sleep And Rest For Weight Loss

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Sleep patterns, rest, recovery and why it is so important. You might just think it’s just a matter of going to bed, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Circadian Rhythm
What we are going to look at is what we call the circadian rhythm. There is a Circadian Rhythm in all animals and creatures on earth, particularly those that are on land and mammals. Not so much things that are in the sea, because they’re not affected by the moon and sun except for the tides.
There are two types of animals, either a diurnal, awake and active during the day, or a nocturnal which means that they’re awake and active during the night. Now, human beings are diurnal, which means when the sun comes up we wake up; the sun goes down, we go to rest and it goes into loop.
In a perfect world, you’ll get up when the sun rises. What happens is whenever we see light or whenever we see sun it triggers off stress, quarters off mainly and that’s to wake us up and out of bed and become active.
Evolution and the likes say that if you were asleep during the middle of the day and there’s a predator around, we would be lunch. That is why we need to be awake and alert. This is not the case now, but that is ingrained in us as creatures, as animals, so we need to respect that.
We need to understand the signs behind it, so that we can actually give ourselves the adequate rest, repair, and recovery where it’s supposed to be. What may happen is that a lot of people will get up at 6am, they’ll get through the whole day, and 6pm is just when they’re getting home. Usually what they’ll do is they’ll go into this rest and recovery period usually until 10pm at the latest maybe later.
This is when they’re actually starting to think about going to bed or actually getting into bed. This cuts into a huge chunk of our rest and recovery period, because essentially the sun’s gone down, so in nature we should start to do the same.
We should start winding down and getting ready for bed. Now, what happens is we’ve got to cram in getting the kids ready for bed, going out to the gym, going shopping. We’re going to cram all these things into this little space of time where we should be resting and winding down.
Working Shifts
For some people this gets even worse. People that work shifts for instance, they’re getting up a different time and going to bed at different time. There’s a huge chunk of time where the Circadian Rhythm is out of sync. If you’re a shift worker, and you feel like you are chronically tired all the time that’s because you’re robbing yourself of that natural Circadian Rhythm, which we need to be in balance and to have good quality of life.
If you are a shift worker and you can’t lose weight or you’ve got crappy health, or you just feel bad, the only way around this is to not be a shift worker anymore. It’s pretty much that simple, because you cannot combat our Circadian Rhythm.
Anything that you do that is in conflict with the Circadian Rhythm and you’re going to pay the consequences. If you’re a shift worker you go to bed late, get up early. They never actually see balance and rhythm within the scope of the sunrise, sunset and find it really hard to lose weight. Even if they’re in the right weight, but just chronically tired all the time, no energy and this is the reason why.
Best Results
What can we do to make the most of it and get the best results? Well, ideally, if you can get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every day, that’s going to be great, a really great start. Try and get to bed by 10:30 at the latest.
When I say get to bed, I mean you need to be asleep by 10:30 every night. That means getting ready to go to bed at 9:30 and then have an hour of winding down in bed and actually drifting off to sleep by 10:30. Now, another thing that we can do is be aware of the things that are beneficial for our sleep and wake pattern.
Good food, low light, no bright lights before bed, plenty of water, and avoid stimulants. If you do these things and make a conscious effort to go to bed and sleep by 10:30, after a couple of days you’re going to start to feel a lot better. Your energy level is going to be increased, which will help you do everything else you need to do to get the results you want. Things to watch out for are things like caffeine, sugar, coffee, and tea.
Any of these things before bed or even after lunch can have a stimulating effect and keep your quarters all high, when it should be starting to get lower. All these quarters are the sun, wake up, stress, and activity. Darkness means rest, repair, recovery, and generally that’s how the Circadian Rhythm works.
Next Step
Now you are going to jot down a few things that you feel like as when your bedtime is. If you’ve noticed anything that popped up here like your sleep patterns write them down. Then we will review what actually happens during the sleep cycle and why it’s important to get it in between the rhythm.
Let’s look at what happens during the 6am to 6pm cycle every day. We’ve got the bad cycle and the good cycle. If you’ve got a good cycle, 6am you wake up. You’re going to do all your work in the first part of the day, and then towards the end of the evening or towards getting to 6pm, you’re starting to decline.
This is the time where all your stressful activity is. Your quarters’ all high, you’re doing a lot of stuff, working doing your daily routine and you don’t expect it to be high. Then, when we get down to 6pm, we’ve knocked off work and come home.
Your recovery period starts now after 6pm; it’s starting to get dark. If you’re respecting the Circadian Rhythm and you’re going to bed somewhere between 10 and 10:30 pm, allows the appropriate time to be spent in the recovery phase, particularly while you’re asleep.
We can split this up into another part. We‘ve got physical repair and then we’ve got mental repair. You want to have almost an equal balance in terms of where you’re spending your time. Between 6am and 10:30pm is the time spent sleeping and 6pm to 10:30pm is spent winding down.
You can see why there is a small amount of stressful activity during the winding down time. Compare this to a disrupted sleep cycle. You wake up and you’re in a stressful state for over twelve hours as compared to one which is only six hours or so.
You might be able to get a little bit more depending on what time you get to bed, but for the same time period. Yes, there’s a huge difference in rest and recovery.
Like previously we talked about stress with the seesaw. You’ve got huge amount of time where you’re in a high or high stress state, you’re having disrupted sleep and then a small rest period. Imagine doing these seven days a week, just over and over and over and over again. I’m sure you’ve been there before and you’ve had this sort of feeling.
This is pretty much what’s going on. What we need to recognize and need to do is start to shift more into a healthier pattern. If you’re not working different shifts, then you’ve got plenty of time to do this. Really start to lock in that morning wake up time and bedtime every night. Avoid your stimulants and make a conscious effort to get to bed early. Over time, this will start to reset itself and then everything will start to come into balance.
You get the idea of why this can put the brakes on your progress and why you won’t lose any weight. You might find it hard or you may just generally not feel very well. The key things to focus on are going to bed by 10:30pm, lots of water, eat well, and manage your stress. All these things will help to manage your stress and help you feel better.
Everything kind of collides together and that’s why it’s so important to have the combined approach and understanding all these different factors.

 

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12 Comments

  • StacyK

    Reply Reply November 28, 2015

    This is really interesting advice! But, I still find going to bed early extremely hard for me to do! If I keep a consistent sleep routine, from 12:00-8:00 for example, do you think it is really so detrimental? Or should I really consider going to bed at an earlier time? (Also, the sun rises at 8:15 am where I live!) Thanks. This was really informative!

    • Chris Bridger

      Reply Reply November 30, 2015

      All depends on your personal situation, sometimes its not possible with work commitments etc, but the closer we can get to the natural circadian rhythm the better we feel having more energy naturally is the main benefit. slow and steady, its not about perfection just being consistent as possible. Thanks for your comment!

  • Ann

    Reply Reply November 29, 2015

    This is a great piece! I have previously worked overnight shifts and yes, it was hard to see any success with the weight loss, and the sleep was all messed up! With the kiddos and dogs, I could not get any good sleep whatsoever, but because I was putting wear and tear on my body, we decided that I can just do some work from home, so now I’m on a more regular sleep schedule, though I cannot sleep through the night, maybe get 4-5 hours then I’m up. (Very hard to get normal after working the crazy night schedule for years and years)I’ll definitely be working towards getting longer, better sleep, as it does affect the weight loss. Thanks for sharing this piece. Can’t wait to read/watch more of your stuff. 🙂

    • Chris Bridger

      Reply Reply November 30, 2015

      Great to hear Ann I’m glad you found it helpful, as we all lead busy lives and its especially Important to make sure we get enough good quality sleep. Thanks for commenting!

  • Simon

    Reply Reply November 30, 2015

    As a former insomniac I am now militant about sleep – I have my regular bedtime and never sway from it. Routine is really important for sleep.

    • Chris Bridger

      Reply Reply December 1, 2015

      I myself find as soon as i get out of my sleep routine my energy levels drop dramatically and i can take a few days to get back into a restful sleep pattern, Thanks for sharing Simon.

  • Maddie

    Reply Reply December 1, 2015

    I have always heard that sleep was important for weight loss but I didn’t truly believe it. Now I do, though. Thanks for the advice and information!

    • Chris Bridger

      Reply Reply December 1, 2015

      Hey Maddie, Glad you found this helpful!

  • Piper S

    Reply Reply December 2, 2015

    As Ann did, I also work overnights as a nurse, but I don’t have kids or pets. (yet) And it is hard to sleep through the day, but I got the blackout curtains (highly recommend!) and I take some melatonin to relax….sleep IS vital to not just maintaining the weight loss, but for overall health.

    • Chris Bridger

      Reply Reply December 4, 2015

      I like the idea of black out curtains, they are excellent. I personally like to wake up with natural sunlight as much as possible, rather than the alarm clock for example.

  • Emily

    Reply Reply December 10, 2015

    I had trouble with mild insomnia. Sometimes I wake up and just don’t not feel rested. I think I need to try a regular bed time. I quit drinking coffee past 2pm and have limited that all together. I think I’ll try going to bed a little earlier and a more consistent time every night.

  • Jennifer

    Reply Reply December 15, 2015

    I have a hard time winding down and getting to sleep. I started trying some of that sleepy time tea and even melatonin. They seem to only be temporary solutions. I’m thinking I need a better bedtime routine. Maybe I need to get bed earlier as well. Sometimes I stay up until past 12. I will aim for 10:30 as you suggested and see if that helps.

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