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Sleep yourself slimmer

You've heard about the importance of getting your "beauty sleep" -- but what about getting your "skinny sleep?" New studies reveal the link between how much you sleep and how much you weigh. Our wellness expert Peggy Hall explains and reveals the secrets to "sleeping yourself slim."

Peggy says that skimping on sleep makes you tired, cranky and forgetful -- but did you know it also can make you fat? Surprising --  but true!

"Lack of sleep disrupts certain hormones called leptin and ghrelin, which control fat burning and fat storage," Peggy explains, and "when you're sleep-deprived, your body also produces more cortisol, a stress hormone which causes your body to store to more fat, especially around the belly."

Also, Peggy says that when you're feeling tired, it often prompts you to eat more for energy, and when you're fatigued you're less likely to exercise.

Here are Peggy's keys to getting that skinny sleep:

  • Get enough exercise during the day to reduce physical tension
  • Get out in the sunlight for 10 minutes daily to help body release sleep hormone melatonin at night (and keep bedroom as dark as possible)
  • Write in a journal before bed to release mental/emotional concerns
  •  Clear your bedroom of electronics, including your cell phone (energy waves are thought to keep the subconscious mind alert)
  • Try an "eye pillow" filled with calming lavender!


Peggy recommends that if you've been struggling with excess weight, especially around your belly, try to get to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 P.M. and wake up between 6:00 and 7:00 A.M. This will help regulate your body's fat-burning hormones so you can start to shed those stubborn pounds.

In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine recently reported that getting less than six hours of sleep and more than eight hours has been associated with weight gain.

So, can't we just catch up on our sleep during the weekend?

Not really. Peggy explains that The National Sleep Foundation says that our bodies do best when we stay on a regular sleep schedule; and that catching up on sleep is really a myth.

"It's kind of like taking an hour-long shower to make up for the daily showers you missed," Peggy says. "It doesn't really do the trick."
 
Additionally, you can snack on one of these foods an hour or so before bed time to help induce sweet slumber:

  • Cherries
  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  • Oatmeal

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