Sleeping well may be the most important factor after nutrition for getting to a healthy weight and staying there the rest of your life. It is very clear that not getting enough sleep causes weight problems in most people. Modern life can make it difficult to get enough sleep. We are busy people with many sources of stress. And so many of us spend a lot of time in front of screens- television, computers, phones. Traditionally, people went to bed when the sun went down and arose with sunrise. There is a part of the brain- called the hypothalamus- which syncs our bodies to the 24-hour cycle of day and night. When the sun goes down, the hypothalamus releases melatonin into the body. Melatonin prepares the body for sleep. We start to feel sleepy, and our bodies slow down.
Modern life can interrupt this connection between our bodies and the sun. And dozens of studies have demonstrated that poor sleeping habits increases appetite and causes weight gain. At Idaho BMI, we work with people to improve both the quality and quantity of their sleep. There are many tools available for improving sleep. From meditation, melatonin supplementation, “pink noise,” and avoiding the radiation from screens before bed (“blue light”), to breathing exercises, we assist our patients in optimizing their sleep.