Mar 23 , 2021


Syed Mahmud

Sleep and Stress

For the most part we focus on topics around food and diet. However, other factors outside of your diet could have a significant impact on weight loss and your overall health. This week, we’re going to delve into one of these areas: lifestyle and issues with stress/sleep.

Do you experience difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, feel tired all day, and/or have a mid-day energy crash? Maybe its difficulty falling/staying asleep? Do you deal with anxiety and feel like you are going non-stop all day long? If you can relate to these conditions, you likely have more factors working against you then diet and/or exercise, alone.

The Connection Between Stress and Sleep

Stress and inadequate rest can be as detrimental, if not more, than what you’re putting in your mouth or how little you are moving. Stress comes from many facets of life and the truth is we all have it! Forms of stressors are poor diet, exercise, smoking/drinking, drugs, environmental toxins, mental/psychological.

How can stress affect weight and health so immensely? 

These stressors elicit a cortisol (a major stress hormone) release from our adrenal glands which puts our body into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. This physical state encourages elevated blood sugars, spikes and crashes in energy/mood, sleep disturbance, food cravings, belly fat, etc.

Eventually, high cortisol levels also encourage a dramatic drop in DHEA (our anti-aging hormone), This hormone is important for central nervous system (CNS) support, which means it affects mood, clarity of thought, and memory.

Ideally, your body will recover from a stressor quickly, but unfortunately with today’s lifestyle the stressors tend to keep coming at us before we can adequately recover.

What can we do?

○ 8 hours of sleep

○ Add relaxation, yoga, meditation, prayer, walking, being outside

○ Eat clean, whole foods

○ Use the Fit Plate as a guide to avoid over or under eating

○ Avoid processed sugar

○ Cut our stressors

○ Contact a dietitian through our scheduling tab above or your physician about possible deficiencies and any need for supplementation

To recap, many factors can impact hormonal/metabolic balance, and as a result, weight and our overall health. Stress is something we cannot avoid all together. However, it’s more a matter of identifying the major stressors in our lives, cutting out those we can, and dealing with/managing those we can’t in the best way possible.

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