Ever wake up in the morning and want to sleep more? Many people deprive themselves of good quality sleep and end up like walking zombies. They easily fall victim to the caffeine fix by downing cups of coffee and reaching for chocolate, sweets and biscuits to perk themselves up. (Sounds like you?)
How does sleep impact on belly fat loss?
The quality and quantity of sleep is crucial for maintaining an optimal hormonal balance and regulating other body processes. Two specific hormones affected are leptin (controls satiety) and ghrelin (controls hunger). Lack of sleep lowers leptin levels and increases appetite. Sleep deprivation also increases ghrelin levels and stimulates appetite. The combined devastating effects of these 2 hormones are overeating, weight gain and an expanding waistline.
You may know that your body burns less calories when you are asleep. But does this mean you sleep less? No! If you sleep 3 hours less, then you have 3 hours extra to consume more calories. By sleeping the recommended 8 hours a night, you may experience belly fat loss as a result of consuming less calories.
How do you feel when you are sleep deprived? Tired, lethargic, groggy and inattentive? If you are not mentally and physically fit, you are likely to skip your workout and eat mostly sugary or carbohydrate foods. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels make you feel worse. You become more tired and cranky! Getting sufficient sleep helps you stick to your regular workout and healthy eating habits more easily.
Here are some tips on how to have a good night's sleep.
1. Have your last caffeinated beverage by noon. Herbal teas are fine and some of them (chamomile and mint) have relaxing and calming effects.
2. Don't watch TV before bedtime. Instead, read a book can help you relax and fall asleep easier.
3. Avoid intense exercise 3-4 hours prior to bedtime. Some people find it hard to fall asleep when their heart rate is still up and post workout metabolism is high. However, regular workout earlier in the day will tire you out so you have a good night's sleep.
4. Clear and relax the mind before sleeping. Most people tend to think too much about work and daily stresses while in bed. These thoughts may manifest into dreams that disrupt sleep. Yoga, meditation, tai chi, massage, warm bath, walking and listening to soothing music are some of the ways to relax the mind, body and soul.
There are other ways to have a good night's sleep but please take a natural approach. Don't pollute your body with sleeping pills or drugs. If your nutrition and workout program are in order, sleep may just be the missing link in your effort to lose belly fat.
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