Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Sleep and Weight Loss

"Cleaning the house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."    --- Phyllis Diller

This week I will be speaking to a group of older adults about sleep.  I was invited to speak about obesity and diabetes, but in addition, I will be speaking about underlying issues like lack of good quality sleep that prevent many people from losing weight which is key to reversing or preventing diabetes.  When it comes to our kids and helping them stay at a healthy weight, we also need to talk about sleep.  

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential, but do you consciously think about what you need to do to get it every night?  There are new recommendations coming soon from the National Sleep Foundation which will add new age categories to current recommendations and expand the amount of sleep that certain age categories need for optimal mental health and alertness. 

Image result for picture of kids sleeping

As any parent knows, it can be challenging to get your kids unwound and into bed at their appointed bedtimes.  Bottom line is that elementary age kids need an average of 10 hours a night and kids in high school need an average of 9 hours a night.  How do your kids stack up to that? 

Recently I saw a piece on CBS with a physician who is a sleep specialist.   He talked about how cell phones and other electronic devices should be more than 5 feet away from our heads at night.  I charge my iphone in my bathroom at night (more than 15 feet from my head).  The news story got me talking with coworkers and friends about where they keep their cell phones at night.   Not surprisingly, I found a lot of people who keep their cell phones next to their bed.  I am always looking for small, simple ways that people can “health up” and I believe that moving your cell phone away from your bed is a simple, yet significant step you can take towards better health.  I know how much better I started sleeping when I made this simple change:  I turned my digital clock around so the red light didn’t shine in my face while I was sleeping. 

Think about it.  Sleep is the time when our brains process our day and help us rest and prepare for the next day.  If you don't get enough sleep, it will be difficult to lose weight.  Try thinking about how you – and your kids – can get enough sleep and a better night’s sleep. 

For more information about tips for a good night's sleep, please click here:

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project