To get myself started on this road to fitness, I began reading online about ways on how to maintain my weight aside from limiting my food intake. I foresee that I will not be able to help myself from eating like a horse in the coming days since the target for this year is to gain muscle mass. Do allow me to share with you what I have learned so far.
Sleeplessness May Lead To Weight Gain
Aside from recharging the brain, I learned that getting enough sleep regularly can help prevent weight gain.
According to a published study by Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, a recognized American physician and the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine and Director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a week or two of sleep curtailment increases appetite and food intake. Further, night shift work is associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke and death. Sleeplessness slows down metabolism. This explains why I have not been losing weight despite strictly following my no-rice diet lately.
Recommended Sleep Hours
Sleeping is probably one of my favorite hobbies if I may call it! Given the chance, I would and could stay in bed and sleep for two days in a row! Who would not? That is how much I love sleeping. But how much sleep does an adult really need?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, below is the summary of the new recommended number of hours of sleep:
- Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
- School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
Based on these recommendations, I clearly need to modify my sleeping habits because I only get five (5) hours of sleep tops on regular days. As a video editor, there are days (or nights) when I need to work myself to the hilt just to finish a project. Also, I prefer editing at night because I think that is when my creativity is at its peak. To compensate then for the lost sleep, I would sleep in the next day.
Lost Sleep Is Lost Sleep
Sleeping in to catch up on lost sleep will not do me any good. In a CNN feature, Czeisler shared that, “sleep bingeing” leads to further disruption of the sleep cycle. So where does that leave me and everybody else in the Philippines being the No. 1 country in Business Process Outsourcing?
According to Czeisler, taking quick naps of only twenty (20) to thirty (30) minutes are recommended for the sleep deprived. However, habitual daytime naps are also not good as it would chronically disrupt ones sleeping patterns.
Darn. I never thought that not getting enough sleep and getting too much of it by sleeping in can put my health at risk! As my former professor used to say, “too much or too little of anything kills.”
Below are some helpful tips from the National Sleep Foundation:
Stick To A Sleep Schedule, Even On Weekends
To those who cannot avoid staying up late at night for a living like me, Czeisler shared that consistency is key. The National Sleep Foundation recommends to decide on a reasonable sleeping and waking time and then stick to it even during weekends.
This means I need to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the next day at the same time every day. No more sleeping in for me then. This will condition the body in keeping a regular sleeping pattern.
Unfortunately, there are so many factors that keep us from getting regular and adequate sleep. Experts say one of which is light exposure at night. Exposure to bright lights before bedtime disrupts our body clocks by affecting the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that maintains the body’s circadian rhythm. Hence, before bedtime, they recommend to avoid bright lights coming from televisions, laptops, mobile phones and even your bedside LED alarm clock.
Admittedly, I do not know if I can avoid bright lights before bedtime because I do my video editing at night and that alone exposes me to a lot of bright light coming from my MAC. And when not editing, I would be blogging on my phone. I need to work on this badly soon.
I have, however, refrained from turning on the bright LED room lights at home. Now, I rely mostly on desk lamps at night. This has not only significantly reduced my monthly electric bills but I guess has also improved my sleeping habits.
As shared in my previous post, I have made it a conscious effort to walk more lately. One of my consultancy jobs is a good twenty-minute walk from my house. So instead of taking a cab, I decided to grab this opportunity to break a sweat by walking to and from work thrice weekly. It not only helps me save fare money, it also improves the quality of my sleep. Frequenting the gym is still a work in progress though but I know I will get my rhythm soon.
Beware Of Hidden Sleep Stealers, Like Alcohol and Caffeine
I am a regular coffee drinker and can gulp two cups of black coffee in the morning. However, unless it is necessary to stay up late, it is no caffeine for me after three (3) in the afternoon. Otherwise, I would keep on tossing and turning at night.
Sleep On A Comfortable Mattress and Pillows
The recommended sleeping hours constitute one-third of our lives more or less. Thus, it is important to choose a comfortable mattress and pillows that can support the body weight without straining it. Uratex, the industry leader in manufacturing quality foams and mattresses, is committed to providing every Filipino a comfortable and affordable mattress to sleep better. They also offer a wide variety of pillows.
Early this month, I received via mail a wonderful present from Uratex, a Senso Memory Traditional Pillow.
This Senso Memory Traditional Pillow is made of premium memory foam that conforms to the shape of my head for support during sleep. I have been using this for two weeks now and so far so good.
Evaluate Your Bedroom To Ensure Ideal Temperature, Sound and Light
Sound. I am lucky to have neighbors who value sleep and are considerate. No unnecessary noises at night. Also, videoke singing until the wee hours in the morning is no longer allowed in our barangay (neighborhood).
On some nights, to put me in the snooze mood, I play soothing nature sounds such as ocean waves, raindrops or rain forest using a mobile app that I downloaded.
Temperature. According to experts, the ideal temperature to initiate sleep is 15 to 19 degrees Celsius. If you are using an air conditioning unit, adjust the thermostat within this range. Otherwise, ensure that your electric fan is in good running condition all the time. Here is a funny vlog on how to clean your electric fan.
Practice A Relaxing Bedtime Ritual
I guess I have yet to figure out a relaxing bedtime ritual because currently my bedtime ritual is reading online using my Ipad and this exposes me to a lot of bright light. Perhaps, I should go back to reading actual books soon.
Sleep is vital especially now that I want to be back in shape. That is why I am making it a priority to get adequate and regular sleep at night. I will fix my schedule so I can do my editing more during the day and enjoy and reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Good luck to me.
Signing out for now. Peace!