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Are you getting enough sleep? Learn how getting a good night's sleep will help you reach your fitness goals.

EXERCISE EQUIPMENT 101_ (2)

Are your sleeping habits making you gain weight?

We all have two hormones in our body, called Leptin and Ghrelin. These hormones work together to control the appetite. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while Leptin, produced in the fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full. 

When you don’t get enough sleep, Leptin levels are decreased and may cause you to feel less satisfied when you eat. Lack of sleep also causes the Ghrelin levels to rise which stimulates your appetite, causing you to feel hungry. 

How much sleep is enough?

For some people, four to six hours of sleep is enough for optimal brain function while others may not feel rested unless they’ve had at least eight hours of sleep. People need more or less sleep at different phases in their life. Women may need more or less sleep at different phases of the month.

The simplest way to tell if you’re getting enough sleep is by paying attention to how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel rested? Do you wake up without an alarm clock, ready to get right out of bed start your day?

Not getting enough sleep is one of the most direct ways that we self-sabotage our success and well-being.  When we're well-rested we not only feel better, but are calmer, smarter, more rational, nicer to be around AND we look better!  Why wouldn’t we choose to have that every day?!

  10 Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep

1. Set the stage

Turn off the computer, smart phone, and television at least one hour before you’d like to fall asleep. 

2. Listen to relaxing music

Turn off the computer, smart phone, and television at least one hour before you’d like to fall asleep. 

3. Consider a sound machine

Music with words can provoke and direct your thoughts more than instrumental music.

4. Read a book

For bedtime reading, try to stay away from material that gets you thinking about things you deal with during the day.  Magazines or stories that distract you from your own life may help you drift off to sleep.

5. Use imagery

If your mind is racing when you are trying to sleep, picture yourself traveling down a road with your thoughts as signposts that you’re passing.  Concentrate on letting them pass right by.

6. Focus on progressive muscle relaxation

Imagine that a ball of light is traveling along your body, beginning at the top of your head, going down to the tips of your toes, and then coming up again.  As the ball passes your muscles, relax them.

7. Take naps

Experts advise that naps should be taken early in the afternoon and limited to 30 minutes.

8. Take a lavender bath

Lavender oil has naturally occurring relaxing properties to help you wind down after a long day.

9. Drink Chamomile tea

Chamomile helps calm the nervous system.

10. Avoid eating right before bed

Certain foods may upset your digestive system and cause you to feel uncomfortable.