Sleep deprivation may be the reason why you can’t lose weight. You can now learn how to sleep easy and lose weight with this 4-step plan by Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Breus, author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. Breus a.k.a. The Sleep Doctor is a clinical psychologist board certified in clinical sleep disorder and both a Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is the sleep expert on WebMD and appears regularly on television shows including Dr. Oz. He provides expert advice and guidance in leading national publications and web sites like the Huffington Post.
There are almost 70 million Americans that suffer from chronic sleep loss and research has shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep at night can lead to weight gain, even obesity. In a study those that were sleep deprived burned the same number of calories as those well rested, but they consumed about 300 more calories during the day. That can add up to an extra 30 pounds a year!
Breus supports the theory that sleep is associated with the obesity epidemic because lack thereof slows down your metabolism and raises your level of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that increases food cravings especially those that are high in fat and carbohydrates. You crave these fatty starchy foods because they release serotonin, the feel good hormone that reduces stress. Plus the more cortisol you produce the more likely you will become insulin resistant, a risk factor for both diabetes and obesity.
If you aren’t getting at least 7 hours of sleep you also produce more ghrelin the hormone that increases your appetite. Simultaneously, lack of sleep reduces the production of leptin which is the body’s appetite suppressant. So in short, if you don’t get enough sleep, you will think that you’re hungry when in reality you really aren’t.
Lastly, those who are not getting at least 7 hours of shuteye every night are losing precious REM sleep, that deep, restful stage where you burn the most calories. According to Breus during REM sleep your brain is more active than any other stage. In fact in some cases it is MORE active than when you are awake. This activity requires fuel for thought called glucose – the basic building block of most foods. What happens when you only get 6 hours of sleep? YOU CUT OFF THAT LAST REM PERIOD which is where your brain uses the most calories! So what does that mean for your waistline? Over the course of a year, one research study from Sao Paulo showed this could add up to as much as 14 pounds of extra weight!
In sum, lack of sleep can undermine even the most dedicated dieter. But here’s the good news: Increasing your sleep by just 1 hour a night – from 7 to 8 hours – can actually help you lose that extra 14 pounds a year. All you have to do is follow this easy 4-step plan.
Step 1: Calculate Your Body’s Best Bedtime
To figure out your body’s best bedtime, follow these 3 easy steps:
1. Determine your typical wake time.
2. Count back 7.5 hours.
3. Set your alarm clock to remind you to go to bed at that time.
The average person should get five full sleep cycles (90 minutes each), which adds up to 7.5 hours a night. If you typically wake up at 6 a.m., calculate back 7.5 hours and go to bed by 10:30 p.m. Setting your alarm clock for 10:30 p.m. then serves as a reminder for you to turn off the lights and turn in for the night.
Step #2: Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium are two of the best natural sleep aids available. Both of these essential minerals help maintain nervous system health and actually reduce anxiety and promote calm. A deficiency in magnesium has been shown to cause insomnia and restless leg syndrome. If you’re having trouble sleeping and aren’t already using these supplements, give them a try. Take 600mg calcium and 400 mg magnesium daily.
A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.
Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.
William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”
In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. The study was titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.” It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and these two minerals should be taken together for best results.
Step 3: Tame Your Tummy with Antacids
Whenever you lie down, you are immediately prone to experiencing gastroesophageal reflux, otherwise known as heartburn or indigestion. What’s more, many people are unaware that they could have silent reflux, a condition that can’t be felt but can pull you out of the deep stages of sleep. (Often, people with sleep apnea have reflux.)
Antacid can help prevent tummy trouble from interrupting sleep by increasing the stomach’s Ph balance. To determine if you have silent reflux, do this experiment: Take an antacid according to the manufacturer’s instructions about 30 minutes before bedtime over the course of 7 days, and see if you’re able to sleep better. If you don’t see any improvement, stop taking the antacid and see your health care provider. He or she will be able to diagnose whether you are suffering from just occasional heartburn or something more serious, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an ulcer, or a hiatal hernia. You will be able to discuss with your health care provider different treatment options.
Some other tips to reduce heartburn while sleeping:
1. Eat your big meal at lunch instead of at dinnertime.
2. Eat at least two to three hours before lying down. Eliminate late-night snacking.
3. Avoid foods that are known to lead to heartburn.
4. Sleep with your head and shoulder on an incline.
5. Make sure your bed clothes are loose-fitting.
6. Sleep on your left side. Studies have shown that this position aids digestion and helps with the removal of stomach acid. Sleeping on the right side has been shown to worsen heartburn.
Step 4: Sip a Combo Tea for Better ZZZ’s
Used to ease insomnia since the second century AD, valerian root is a popular herbal remedy for sleep problems that is both gentle and safe. Passionflower is also established as a calming herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia.
About 1 hour before bedtime, make a combo tea made with 1 valerian root teabag and 1 passionflower teabag, both available at health food stores.
The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep description (AMAZON) states that losing weight while you sleep may sound too good to be true, but in fact the connection between inadequate sleep and weight gain (among a host of other negative medical results) has long been recognized by medical researchers. Dr. Breus shows that a good night’s sleep will actually enable you to lose weight, especially if you have been chronically sleep deprived.
The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan is designed to help any woman who has been frustrated by her inability to shed weight by giving her the tools to overcome the stress, poor habits, and environmental challenges that stand between her and adequate rest. Sleep deprivation is a frustrating reality for many women faced with chronic stress or hormonal changes—and the fatigue, moodiness, and weight gain that come with it might just be the tip of the iceberg. While helping thousands of women implement simple health and lifestyle changes to improve the quality and the quantity of their slumber, Dr. Breus has witnessed not only an upsurge in their energy levels and a diminishing of myriad health concerns, but also significant weight loss achieved without restrictive dieting or increased amounts of exercise.
In The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, Dr. Breus delves into the science behind this sleep–weight-loss connection, explaining exactly how sleep boosts your metabolism, ignites fat burn, and decreases cravings and overall appetite, and he presents a realistic action plan to help you get your best sleep—and your best body—possible. He shows how you can overcome your personal sleep obstacles with a slumber-friendly evening routine, stress management techniques—even recipes for healthy meals and snacks—to help you fall asleep more easily.
If you are ready to stop tossing and turning night after night, if you are done downing coffee to conquer nagging fatigue, and if you have bounced from one diet to another in an effort to find one that really, finally helps you lose the pounds you want, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan has the information, advice, and practical strategies you need to get deep, revitalizing sleep—and achieve a slimmer, healthier body in the process.
The information in this site is for informational purposes only and not meant as a substitute for advice from your healthcare professional. This information should not be used to diagnosis or treat any health problem. Information and statements provided by asleepeasy.com about supplements that have not been evaluated by the FDA are not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Reliance on any information in this article or on this site is solely at your own risk.