We live in a day and age where sleep seems to be overrated. Especially in places like NYC where there is 24/7 stimulation and people sometimes live more to work than work to live, sleep often gets the shorter end of the stick. Having worked at startups before, where they say that ‘sleep is for the death’, I can very well relate to the pressure of constant doing and never resting.
When I was in grad school, I often went to bed late and woke up super early. 5-6 hours of sleep was what I thought is enough and as a morning person, I definitely wanted to get these valuable early day hours in, during which I feel the most productive. I often crashed in the afternoon because 6 hours was actually not enough and my body and mind needed more rest.
I learned my lesson. Energy levels, concentration, focus and efficiency are all things I am striving for. I can only achieve all of the above if I have a healthy and clean sleep hygiene, which I have been implementing over the last couple of years. This means during the week, about 8 hours each night, being in bed before 10.30am (ideally at 10!) and waking up at 6am (or 5.58am to be precise). This rhythm can obviously vary for people but 8 hours seems to be the right amount of sleep across the board.
When it comes to health and weight loss, sleep also affects our appetite directly. The less sleep, the more cortisol (stress hormone) will be in your blood and the more likely you will be to eat more, eat fattier and more sugary foods and hence gain weight. Cravings are more extreme when you don’t sleep enough and your body temperature regulation can be totally off too. Coffee will not really help as it only provides a short term energy boost, that will then later lead to a total crash. You might even crave more food after that because your body is desperately looking for a source of energy.
The true solution is to actually nourish your body by sleeping. You will not be missing out on anything and you won’t be less successful nor fail at your endeavors. Your body and mind can only function if they are well rested and that’s especially true if you also want to maintain a healthy weight. Try going on a run with 6 hours of sleep and then try the same with 8 – the difference is massive and your performance will be so much higher on 8 hours. If you sleep more, you will need less time doing other things because your efficiency and focus are increased. So go and get some sleep! ;)
Jenné & Isabelle
We're both passionate vegan foodies with backgrounds in nutrition. We decided to bridge our skills to create Buddhalicious; a program that guides members to find balance, excitement, and flavor on their plates, and in their lives.