Getting enough sleep can be challenging for pastors. You never know when you will receive a call from a parishioner in need in the middle of the night, and the demands on your time often leave space for yourself only very early in the morning or late at night.
Perhaps this story sounds familiar: Lack of sleep results in mid-day fatigue. To combat this, you reach for a cup of coffee and snack to get through a mid-day meeting, but feel too fatigued to fit in an afternoon workout at the Y. In the evening, the caffeine from earlier in the day is still cycling through your bloodstream, so you decide you may as well work on a sermon or channel surf to de-stress from the day. Late night hours then become a dangerous time for snacking on comfort foods before you finally get to bed, only to start a similar routine in a few short hours.
The result is sleep debt — a deficit that continues to build and carries high interest rates, just like a credit card. Not getting enough shut-eye has implications on your overall health, particularly when you are trying to lose weight.
Persistent lack of sleep influences the hormone levels that play key roles in metabolism. When you are sleep-deprived, your body maintains more ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure, but it also holds onto less leptin, a hormone that signals satiety. The result is a perfect hormonal storm of more eating, a lessened satisfaction with food, and a slowed metabolism, all ending in weight gain.
Emerging research suggests that sleep is critical to fat loss as well. A recent study out of the University of Chicago compared the weight lost of dieters over a two week period. Some had sufficient sleep; others were sleep deprived. Though the two groups lost similar amounts of weight, those who were well-rested lost twice as much fat as those who burned the midnight oil.
So, if you’re making commitments to improve your diet and exercise more, these ten tips for improved sleep may help you on your way to weight loss success.
by Catherine Wilson