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It’s true—insomnia has a lot more to do with weight-gain than you’d imagine. If you’re not getting an average of seven to eight hours of sleep at night, it means you’re sabotaging your waistline and overall health. The benefits of sleep far exceed waking up feeling refreshed.

Do you have problems sleeping at night? If so, you’re not alone. Sleep is typically an overlooked aspect of weight-loss. In fact, insomnia is among the top sleep complaint of Americans nationwide. Numerous studies have validated the connection between sleep, lack of exercise, overeating and poor memory retention. Further, the benefits of restorative sleep aids in cell regeneration and the body’s ability to heal.

Have you ever noticed how your whole day is determined by how well you sleep?

Sleep needs to be treated as a priority because it also affects mood, and chronic insomnia can lead to depression, anxiety and a compromised immune system. It disturbs judgment, productivity and reflexes, and can lead to elevated blood pressure levels, and chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and significantly contributes to a shortened lifespan.

So, what happens when you’re sleeping?

During sleep, hormones (Ghrelin and Leptin) are secreted which help regulate appetite, energy, metabolism and glucose processing. Too little sleep upsets this balance and the functioning of other hormones, as well.

The good news is there are steps you can take to getting some more ZZZZs:

  • Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, sugar and caffeine in the evening.
  • Don’t drink liquids an hour before bedtime.
  • Eliminate excessive noise and calm your mind by doing quiet, non-stimulating activities (like meditation, yoga and deep breathing) before bed.
  • Turn off the TV and computer.
  • Your bed is for sleeping and not arguments or solving the day’s problems.
  • Turn off the lights (including LED lights on clocks) and keep the room cool and dark.
  • Keeping a regular bedtime schedule.
  • Taking a warm bath also contributes to a good night sleep.
  • What would you add to this list? And, what do you do to calm your mind before bed at night?

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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