Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in March, some of my personal training (now virtual) clients have had to resort to sleeping pills to help them fall asleep. And just today, one of our WEIGHT LOSS, GOD’S WAY members was telling me about her difficulties sleeping at night.
It makes sense—sleep disturbances alert us that something is off, and things are definitely off right now in the world.
My sleep schedule has also been thrown off with the upheaval of my daytime and nighttime routine.
There’s so much anxiety and worry right now about our jobs, health, financial future; plus, we don’t have our usual outlets such as spending time with our friends, going to the gym, or even some retail therapy at the mall.
In addition to this, many of us are glued to our TV—watching the daily death toll like it’s a sporting event.
As frustrating as sleepless nights are, they also negatively impact our waistlines. Hopefully knowing this information will help you to be proactive in developing a healthy sleeping routine, especially now.
1. CORTISOL. When you’re under high levels of stress, your body produces a high level of a hormone called cortisol. This cortisol triggers sugar cravings because eating sugary foods cause the release of a hormone called serotonin which makes you feel good. It produces a calming and relaxing effect on the body.
2. LEPTIN is a hormone that tells your brain when you’re full. During sleep, your leptin levels increase, telling your brain that you’re full and don’t need any more food. But when you don’t get adequate sleep, your leptin levels drop, which tells the brain that you need more food. This is why you may find yourself eating more when you don’t get a good night’s sleep.
3. GHRELIN is another hormone that is impacted by sleep and it is also involved in the regulation of your appetite. Contrary to the role of leptin, ghrelin tells your brain when you need to eat and when it should store excess fat for energy. When you don’t sleep well, you end up with too much ghrelin in your system so the body thinks it’s hungry and it needs more calories. It also triggers your body to stop burning calories and stores it as fat instead.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to get to bed at the same time each night and have also started to create a consistent daily routine.
Sure, you might be sleeping in a bit later or even staying up a bit later these days, but you can still create a daily routine. It can be as simple as creating specific and consistent times that you will eat each day. Be sure to include a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise each day. Ideally, get outside and get some fresh air as this will help your body to release serotonin, your body’s ‘feel-good’ hormone. It will also help your brain make melatonin which is a hormone responsible for helping you sleep better.
Remember, most of us have never experienced anything like what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic in our lifetimes. Your body may be acting differently than normal, that is because there is nothing normal about what’s going on right now. Continue to pray each night before you go to sleep and remind yourself that this too shall pass.
Pray this Scripture each night before going to sleep:
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Proverbs 3:24