In defense of sleep

November 12, 2015

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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

One of the best things you can do for your body is get enough sleep. Ever noticed that sleeping makes you feel better and being tired makes you feel worse?  Your body is telling you something about the importance of sleep.

In our get-more-done-never-take-a-break culture, sleep can seem like a luxury afforded only to the lazy and gluttonous.  However, research has shown that sleep actually makes us more productive.  And some of the world's best and brightest have historically taken daily naps.  Check out this blog post from Michael Hyatt on the benefits of napping

Not getting enough sleep is really hard on your body.  According to the Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, inadequate sleep increases your risk for many diseases and can impair your perception and judgment.  Nothing noble about this. 

Since sleep is tied to your body's circadian rhythm along with hunger, insufficient sleep can interfere with metabolism and appetite signals.  Consider this – we get energy from 2 places: 1) Sleep and 2) Food.  Granted, they are different types of energy, but when one is out of whack it's likely the other will be too.  Sometimes when we are tired we eat even if not hungry.  We are also more likely to crave quick-energy foods (i.e. carbs). 

Here are a few tips for better sleep:

  • Make your bedroom a sleep-conducive environment.  Keep it cool and dark.
  • Have a routine.  Go to bed around the same time every night and do the same routine before bed to send a signal to your body that it's time to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed.  They interfere with sleep.  Experts recommend avoiding these substances for at least 4-6 hours before bed, although some people metabolize them more slowly and need longer.
  • Exercise, but do it earlier in the day and not right before bed.  Exercise helps improve sleep, but it also increases alertness, so do it at least 3 hours before bed.

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