The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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Obesity in America stems from an overabundance of processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, and a stressed-out environment at school, work, and home. It seems impossible for the average person trying to lose weight to see any lasting success. This is partly because they are focusing on the result of weight gain. When they focus on the causes that lead to overeating, they make significant changes in their lives. One neglected area of the average American lifestyle relates to a habitual lack of sleep.

Your Need For Sleep

Sleep is so important to the human body that people who lack it show symptoms that look like an illness. They lose coordination, make poor decisions, experience extreme emotions, and get sick often. Many things affect sleep, so what affects yours? Examine your personal habits, consult with sleep apnea doctors, and find support for the changes you want to make. When you listen to your body and get the sleep you need, the results can be seen in grades, work attitude, safety levels, immune system strength,
and emotional health. Sleeping gives your body the downtime it craves. There is no substitute.

How Sleep Relates To Weight Loss

People often overeat because they are overtired. Why do you keep picking up extra donuts and serving yourself seconds at dinner? Look at how you slept this week. Did you go to bed late and get up early? Your body is trying to use food as a substitute for a healthy sleep cycle. Since sleep can affect your decision making abilities, it can also lead to poor food choices. Getting enough sleep at night sets up the next day for success while trying to lose weight. It is one of the essential foundations of health. Our culture doesn't respect the human need for sleep. To lose weight, you need to build a new culture at home and then take it with you to work and school.

What To Do Today

If you are currently struggling with your sleep schedule and habits, there are some habits you can start implementing today. You will first need to understand your need for sleep and prioritize it. Make the decision not to let anything get in the way of the amount of sleep you get each night. You can also make sure to shut down any electronic devices and media earlier in the evening to help you fall asleep faster. Make sure your bed is comfortable and remove any sort of distractions. The food you eat at the end of the day can also influence your sleeping habits. Try to avoid late night snacking and cut out caffeine or alcohol, especially near the end of the day. Other healthy habits, like exercise and stretching can set you up for a more restful sleep as well.

Ultimately, there are several things you can do each day to improve your sleeping habit. However, don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to incorporate them every day. Forgive yourself for any mistakes and just keep putting in as much effort as you are able to each day.

Never underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep every night. It can affect not only your weight, but other aspects of your health as a result. Evaluate your personal habits and determine what changes you can make to have better habits. If you are trying to lose weight, one of the most influential
ways to change your lifestyle is improving your sleep. Set yourself up for success every day and show up so that you feel your best.

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