Staying healthy during the holidays can be a challenge with the stress that comes from rushing here and there as well as increased social events with late night parties. It can also be difficult to fit in exercise during the holidays and even more difficult to know how to lose weight during the holidays. The #1 tip that I have found helpful during the holidays to stay fit and healthy is to get plenty of rest.
Make sleep a priority!
Sleep helps your brain work properly. It’s when you are sleeping that your body is getting ready for the challenges of the next day. Your brain is actually creating new pathways for learning and storing memories which helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions and be creative.
Sleep is also important for your health because when you are sleeping your body is healing and repairing itself. It can be very easy to neglect sleep during the holidays. It’s important to avoid prolonged sleep deficiency as it is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
For those of you that have a weight loss goal this holiday season be aware that sleep deficiency can also increases the risk of obesity, therefore sabotaging your weight loss effort. While you sleep your body produces hormones: ghrelin and leptin. The hormones that make you feel satisfied when you eat and if you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier even when you have eaten. Another hormone that reacts to sleep is insulin. This is the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
Most important during the holiday season is boosting your immune system which relies on sleep to stay healthy. Your immune system is your first defense against the flu and viruses. If you are not getting enough sleep it can change the way in which your immune system responds. This is why some people can be more resistant to disease than others.
Studies have shown that the best time to sleep for optimal health is between 11pm and 4am with 8 hours being ideal. So when you are out with friends celebrating this holiday season remember to take care of yourself and hit the pillow as early as possible.