Sleep Is The Enemy

*The title of this post was taken from the Danko Jones song of the same name*

When trying to solve every aspect of a weight loss journey, talking about food and exercise can become somewhat mind numbing.

Ask any five people who have succeeded at losing weight and keeping it off, you’re likely to hear five vastly different opinions.

One thing that doesn’t get hotly disputed is the importance of sleep.

As obesity rates are climbing in the nation, so are incidents of sleep apnea with correlations tying into type II diabetes. And while one could be obese without type II diabetes or respiratory obstructions during sleep, the deck continues to stack against those who have not solved the riddle of weight loss for themselves.

However, sleep isn’t just critical for those trying to lose weight. It’s a big deal for everyone.

Poor sleep patterns can affect your hormones, your ability to have a good workout, your adherence to a good diet and your overall energy levels.

Couple that with the fact that many people try to outmaneuver their poor sleep by compounding coffee with sugar and sweet treats creating a cycle of caffeine and a sugar buzz to keep them alert throughout the day.

Then you wind down for bed, physically or mentally exhausted, but with a body so cramped by the dietary indiscretions of the day that you rinse and repeat: poor sleep, poor eating, too much caffeine, etc.

If you find yourself struggling to get food in a good place or your exercise to a point where you can measure your progress consistently, you may have to start looking at your sleep habits.

Thinking back to my podcasts with my buddies Ian Dunican (Episode #35) and Dr. Spencer Nadolsky (Episode #13), good sleep isn’t a trivial factor in your health, it’s an essential one.

Some added tips:

-Use your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy (not office work and television.)

-Stop looking at portable electronics at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

-Get your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.

-Minimize alcohol consumption in the evening (which can help you fall asleep but will generally have you up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.)

-Aim for 6-8 hours of solid, restful sleep.

And if you’re one of those who thinks “sleep is the enemy” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, you may be further behind the ball than you want to be.