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The Sleep, Stress and Body Fat Connection

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The Sleep, Stress and Body Fat Connection.  When you’re on a diet program, or fat loss is your goal, do you think of sleep as a critical part of your regime? How does sleep itself, as well as the quality of the sleep you get, help you achieve your fat loss goals?

What Happens When You Sleep

When you drift off to sleep, you go into different sleep stages. The first is a light sleep followed by a deeper sleep with reduced body temperature and slower breathing. Sleep stages 3 and 4 are the most reparative stages when growth hormone is released and tissue is repaired and rejuvenated. Finally, REM sleep is when most dreams occur, and can happen repeatedly during the night.

As you can see, getting quality uninterrupted sleep is important so that you can cycle through all the necessary stages of sleep.

Sleep and Cortisol

Cortisol is the hormone released during imminent danger situations. The “fight or flight” response used to be an uncommon occurrence, when the stressors of the day included running from a bear or hunting down prey. Now, in today’s modern and hectic society, we have daily, often multiple, instances of flight or fight type stressors. The problem is that we are in a continual stress mode.

Constant stress can wreak havoc on your body because the perpetual release of cortisol into your bloodstream elevates your heart rate and blood pressure, to name a couple negative side effects. This physical response is, unfortunately, often not in response to acute physical danger. The repeated release of cortisol also contributes to the gathering of excess body fat, mostly around your midsection.

So, where does sleep come into the equation? Sleep is important because it’s when you repair and refresh your system. Good quality sleep allows your cortisol levels to decrease as you go into deeper sleep cycles. With a solid night of uninterrupted sleep, your cortisol will naturally begin to elevate as it gets closer to morning.

When your sleep is disturbed, it causes your cortisol levels to increase too soon and too often. This promotes the storage of fat around your middle. Enough good quality sleep each night is vital for maintaining a lean midsection.

Foods That Enhance the Sleep Experience

Yes, certain foods can help make you tired, or assist in getting a good night’s sleep. Of course, it’s wise to avoid too much sugar or foods and drinks with caffeine, but there are some great choices when it comes to night time snacking.

Walnuts, almonds, dairy products (calcium), some meats like turkey, and some fruits like bananas can all help you get calm and sleepy before bed. There are also some delicious teas that will soothe you into a sleepy mood, like chamomile and peppermint herbal teas. Or, try a protein rich dessert-like smoothie:

Bedtime Banana Smoothie

1 banana (frozen)
1 cup yogurt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
Almond milk

Blend all in heavy duty blender and add almond milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.

For more helpful recipes, be sure to visit Viance Nutrition. Learn about an all-natural, preservative free healthy weight loss program to help you reach your fat loss goals at Viance.com.

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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