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Sleep Less, Gain Weight

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screenshot-tired-at-holidays-cartoon

 

“’Tis the season” – of junk food and running around – and it’s in full swing.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m already challenged in keeping my usual schedule of activities – work, exercise, family – from bursting at the seams with additional holiday activities, trips, and other random schedule changes.

 

In fact, I went down hard with a bad cold right after Thanksgiving, and I’m just crawling back up out of that. (Happens to the best of us.)

 

Today I simply want to emphasize for this season something I tell my patients all year ‘round:

 

Protect your sleep.

 

Yup. Simple, but not always easy.

 

Strive to keep you bedtime schedule consistent.

Try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night (more if you can).

(If 7 hours is a lofty goal, you need to look even harder at your priorities.)

 

SLEEP is one of your most powerful tools against holiday weight gain.

 

Put this together with all the other things you know to do, and are trying your best to do, such as:

 

  • resisting the holiday junk food that magically shows up in most offices
  • counting those steps at the mall shopping towards your daily steps
  • going to the gym even when you have 17 other things you need to get done

 

Seriously, I have patients who lose weight only in the summer when their kids are off school and they get one more hour of sleep every night.

 

So, want to keep holiday pounds from attaching themselves to your body this year?

 

Protecting your sleep is one of the best things you can do.

 

Those projects you do after the kids go to bed? Move them to other earlier times in your day. (Break them up into smaller projects to help you do this.)

 

Get the RESULTS you want for your body and your health, not the REASONS why not.

 

I know you are busy.

I know you can’t wrap presents when the kids are around.

I know you have to do all those items on your to-do list.

I know you think you have to let some personal care items go if you’re going to get it all done.

 

The one thing I can assure you is that not getting the restful sleep you need will mess up your metabolism, just as much as the junk food and seasonal treats.

 

In fact, being tired INCREASES the chances of:

  • needing sugar to give you that artificial “boost” of energy (followed by the crash)
  • poorer decision-making about what to eat
  • lower resistance to those pretty treats we are surrounded by even more at this time of year

 

The choice is always yours:

 

Don’t get enough sleep this holiday season, and set yourself up for weight gain.

 

OR

 

Protect your sleep, get the rest you need, and take care of yourselves SO THAT you can give to others.

 

Have a restful weekend!

 

Dr. Liz

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