Disclaimer: I wanted to be upfront and let you know that this post is sponsored by ZzzQuil. As usual, all thoughts & opinions are honest, and of course, my own! Enjoy!
Everyone says that working out + eating clean = weight loss. It’s supposed to be that simple, right? Calories in minus calories out? Well that’s what I thought too. Until, I tried soooo hard to stick by that equation and wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.
So, I thought maybe I should work out longer! Maybe I should watch what I’m eating even more! Maybe throw in an extra session at the gym at night to burn some extra calories! But when doing more didn’t work either, I was stumped. Disappointed in myself. And so so confused.
After doing intense research, reading books, talking to medical doctors, and learning from naturopathic doctors, I was able to uncover some things that were secretly sabotaging my results. One thing I didn’t even consider?
I WASN’T SLEEPING ENOUGH.
What? Sleep? Huh?
When I realized that, I was like wait. I was so hesitant to believe this could have any impact on my results. It sounded way too easy. I thought the more I slept, the less time I had to be productive! But you know what? As weird as that sounds, lack of sleep really was something that was holding me back. Lack of sleep was stressing me out, and the stress helped cause my weight loss plateau! So when I finally put in more effort to get to bed before 12am (I used to get to bed at 3am or 4am), my body started functioning again.
So, why do we need sleep for weight loss?
#1. When you don’t sleep enough, you tend to overeat!
Researchers from Columbia University released a study of 26 healthy men and women that showed that sleep deprived people (4 hours of sleep nightly for 6 nights) ate more calories than well rested people (9 hours of sleep nightly for 6 nights). Sleep deprived women ate an excess of 329 calories per day and sleep deprived men ate 263 extra calories per day…and most of those extra calories came from foods like ice cream and fast food! Disruptions to sleep stimulate the hormone ghrelin, which then makes you hungry!
#2. Lack of sleep hinders muscle growth!
Scientists from Brazil found that when you don’t sleep enough, your body’s ability to make muscle (protein synthesis) is greatly diminished! And guess what? Since the American Council on Exercise says that 1 lb. of muscle burns 7-10 calories per day while 1 lb. of fat burns only 2-3 calories a day, you miss out on the extra caloric burn when have you less muscle on your body.
#3. Sleep debt = stress = lower belly fat
When you don’t sleep enough, you are automatically putting your body in a state of stress. And when you’re stressed, your body will release a hormone called cortisol, which has been linked to the accumulation of excess abdominal fat in the lower belly as proven by a study done at Yale University.
As you can see, the links between sleep and the way your body functions are clear. So now the question is…how can you get more sleep in this fast-paced world of nonstop email and social media? Well, make sleep a priority! The same way you schedule in your workouts and take the time to cook your healthy meals, put some energy into preparing for bed.
#1. Try ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Melatonin Gummies!
If my mind is racing and I can’t get myself to go bed for an important early call time the next day, these are my go-to so I can make sure I fall asleep naturally and wake up feeling READY! ZzzQuil recently came out with these super yummy, vegan, vegetarian, and drug free, melatonin gummies that can help you fall asleep naturally and wake refreshed*! The Wildberry Vanilla flavor is delish. Plus it is gluten free!
#2. Put your phone away from your bed!
This one is obvious. It’s distracting. It’s bright. It keeps you up. Put it away and allow your eyes and your mind to wind down.
#3. Calm yourself with Vicks PURE Zzzs Soothing Aromatherapy Balm.
A great add to your nighttime routine that is made with a blend of essential oils, you can massage this on your chest, neck and back at night. The soothing lavender and chamomile scents make me instantly feel like I am at a spa which relaxes me right away. Plus it moisturizes and makes your skin feel super soft!
#4. Read a book.
But like, on actual paper! The light from my phone often makes it hard to fall asleep at night. Reading a book is calming and puts my mind at ease. Plus it’s nice to squeeze in a little night time knowledge!
#5. Dim the lights and stretch!
Really, get away from the bright lights! Maybe just light some candles or dim the lights in your bedroom if you can. Create a safe space for you to be calm. You need to prepare for bed like you prepare for anything else. Sometimes light stretching on your bed can calm your tight muscles after a long day. You’ll be so ready to lie down and rest!
#6. Try ZzzQuil for jetlag.
On the occasional night when I cannot get to bed (the crazy jetlag type of nights) I take ZzzQuil instead of the ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Melatonin Gummies since it helps me fall asleep fast in as little as 20 minutes! When I’m traveling, I don’t have time or energy to waste on readjusting to time zones. Because I have to be up early, ready to teach hundreds – sometimes even thousands of students for a big class – my sleep is always a constant priority!
I hope this article brings some light into your search for answers! If you’re at a plateau, I think the coolest thing is that I’m not telling you that you have to do something crazy strenuous to see a change. All I am saying is to give sleeping a try :) I don’t think most of us could complain about that right!?
Big thank you to ZzzQuil for sponsoring this blog post!