Better Sleep – The Missing Link To Sustainable Weight Loss:

Your Best New Year's Resolution For 2019!


As we close the door on yet another year, I have to ask – “is one of your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight?”

As a shift worker immersed in a sleep disrupted lifestyle, I’d say the chances of you replying to that question with a “yes”, is pretty high.

Why?  Well generally speaking, the less we sleep, the more we’re going to weigh.

I know what you’re thinking – “that sucks!”

I agree.  It does.  But the thing is, when we’re sleep deprived, there are 3 distinct things or biochemical changes which occur within our body, that if we ignore, can fast track us down the express lane to weight gain before we’ve even had a chance to see it coming!

  1. When we haven’t had enough sleep, our body instinctively seeks out energy that it didn’t get during a restorative night’s rest.What does that mean?  Well the quickest and easiest source of energy that our body can use is, you guessed it – sugar!  Or more scientifically, glucose, which means if you don’t get sufficient sleep, you’re going to have some serious carbohydrate cravings.
  2. When we haven’t had enough sleep, it dysregulates our appetite-regulating hormones ‘ghrelin’ and ‘leptin’.  Ghrelin is a hormone that gets released to increase our appetite, whereas leptin is a hormone that lets you know when you’re feeling full.  The problem when we’re sleep deprived, is ghrelin becomes elevated making us feel hungrier than normal, whilst at the same time, leptin becomes suppressed meaning you’re not going to receive that “I’m feeling full” signal which can lead to overeating and subsequent weight gain.So yes, you do have a valid, scientific explanation (or shall we say ‘justification’) as to why you polished off 1/2 packet of Tim Tams in your meal break!
  3. When we haven’t had enough sleep, it increases a stress hormone in our body called cortisol. While it’s a great hormone to have around when you need to slam on your breaks in traffic, its not good to have high amounts of it floating around on a consistent basis.  This is because cortisol raises our blood sugar, which in turn, raises our insulin levels.  Like with anything in excess, too much insulin can lead in the development of a condition called insulin resistance, which reduces our body’s ability to burn fat often leading in the development of weight gain around the abdomen or belly region.

So whilst what we eat is important when it comes to sustainable weight loss – it’s certainly by no means, the be all and end all.

Instead of following the crowd and focussing all of your attention on a restrictive, unsustainable diet for your New Year’s Resolution (which let’s face it, most have usually given up by the 2nd week of January anyway!), my recommendation for you, is to take on a completely different approach.

That being focussing on improving both the quality and quantity of your sleep, because this is going to help your body to experience less sugar cravings and hormonal dysregulation, which will inadvertently help you to lose weight anyway!

And let’s face it, who doesn’t want better sleep – especially when working 24/7!

Audra x

 

References:

Greer, S, Goldstein, A & Walker, M 2013, ‘The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain’, Nature Communications, vol. 4, no. 2259.

Hirotsu, C, Tufik, S & Anderson, M 2015, ‘Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism:  From physiological to pathological conditions’, Sleep Science, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 143-142.

Taheri, S, Lin, L, Austin, D, Young, T & Mignot, E 2004, ‘Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index’, PLoS Medicine, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 210-217.

HSW 65 – Healthy Shift Worker Wellness Events with Candice Bauer

As someone who works irregular hours, have you ever had any “healthy shift worker training” throughout your shift working career?  Quite simply, has anyone ever entered your workplace (that actually worked shift work themselves and knows exactly what you’re going through) and provided you with some practical strategies to help you to manage your health whilst working 24/7?

I’m going to assume your answer is a “no”, which is why you’re definitely going to want to listen to this episode!

Having spent close to two decades working shift work myself, and not once receiving any help or support on how to stay healthy whilst working 24/7, I’m now taking my healthy-shift-worker message around Australia, in the form of Healthy Shift Worker Wellness Events.

In today’s episode, we’re talking with Emergency Care Nurse Candice Bauer, who is also the founder of BareByBauer, an Australian based body and skin care company.  Candice is so passionate about her health and that of others, that she’s invited me up to her hometown of Bundaberg to talk all things to do with health and wellness.

The good news is that not only is this wellness event going to be a wealth of information for those working shift work, but it’s also designed to be an invaluable resource for anyone struggling with their health – whether that’s in the form of poor sleep, stress, weight fluctuations and much, much more!

So if you live in Bundaberg, then I look forward to seeing you there on Friday, the 28th of September 2018 :-).

Links mentioned on the podcast:

To purchase your tickets or to learn more about the Healthy “Shift” Worker event which is being held at the Bundaberg School of Arts Building, visit Eventbrite or the BareByBauer Facebook Page

To learn more about the BareByBauer range of products including the Saving Grace Repair Balm and Green Gypsy Facial Mask that Candice mentioned – visit https://www.barebybauer.com.au/

If you’re wanting me to come into your workplace (or visit your place of residence) and deliver Healthy Shift Worker Wellness Events too, then get in touch with me at audra@healthyshiftworker.com

Do You Really Understand The Consequences of Poor Sleep?

Yesterday I was talking to a potential client, who was bit unsure and hesitant about working with me, so I decided to ask her a few questions regarding her current lifestyle habits.

Because let’s face it, our diet and lifestyle habits are often one of the firsts thing to turn pear- shaped when we begin working 24/7!

But I also I asked her this question:

“Do you really understand some of the consequences of poor sleep?  Like really understand some of the consequences?”

Like many shift workers – she didn’t.

I mean she’d certainly heard about them, but had chosen to either ignore them or had gone into “oh, that won’t happen to me mode” – like so many people who work 24/7 do.

So let’s share some of the consequences of poor and/or insufficient sleep – and how it raises your risk of developing certain health conditions:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Weight Gain
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cognitive Decline
  • Depleted Immune system
  • Strained Relationships … to name a few!

Not to mention, we’re more likely to become reliant on sleep medications – many of which are not designed for long term use, and can come with some nasty side-effects.

Worse still, when we haven’t had sufficient quality sleep – we’re prone to making mistakes and/or being involved in an accident when we’re tired.

Multiple studies have shown that even moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication.   After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance is equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent.  This effectively makes you a drunk driver – without having a single drop of alcohol.

So please keep this in mind the next time you decide to sign up for a double shift!

Quite simply, there isn’t one area of your life that IS NOT affected by lack of sleep.

Now if you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that your health is important to me.  Gosh, I even walked away from a career that I loved, in order to go back to “school” and learn all that I could about shift work health, so that I could then go on, and help as many people as I could.

Right now, I’m looking for a handful of people who are committed to taking care of their sleep (and health), and are prepared to do whatever it takes NOT TO become one of the “sleep deprived statistics” that I’ve shared above.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about raising your risks of developing cardiovascular disease, gaining weight, developing Type 2 Diabetes and/or having a depleted immune system – at least do it for the sake of your relationships and/or family.  I’m sure they don’t want you to become one of those statistics – even if you don’t!

And now for the good news.

I’ve just opened up limited spots for the beta launch of my ‘7 Day Better Sleep Kickstart Program’ to take people through a step-by-step process to improve their sleep – despite working 24/7.

So if you care about your health, then let’s talk.

Book your Better Sleep Strategy session with me today (it’s Free!) by Clicking Right Here – and let’s get your sleep (and health) sorted once and for all!

Audra x

P.S:  If you don’t believe me when I say that sleep affects us in this way, feel free to read the research article below as it goes into great detail of some of the short-term and long-term health consequences of poor sleep.  The reality is, we can no longer afford to ignore the importance of sleep, and how it affects our overall health and wellbeing.  If we do, it’s only a matter of time before our health begins to suffer.

 

Reference:

Medic, G, Wille, M & Hemels, M 2017, ‘Short and long-term health consequences  of sleep disruption’, Nature and Science of Sleep, vol. 9, pp. 151-161.

HSW 39 – Weight Gain, Food Timing and Chrononutrition.

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast Episode:

This week I chat about my all time favourite topic – Food Timing, or the more fancier, scientific way to describe it is Chrononutrition.

Chrononutrition involves the study of how nutrition impacts on our metabolism, via our internal body clock, which includes meal regularity (or in the case of a shift worker, meal irregularity), frequency and clock time.

Eating out of sync to our body’s natural circadian clock is very common in those who work 24/7 (thanks to some pretty crazy rosters), however this can disrupt our metabolism leading to weight gain as our body is not geared up for night-time energy and nutrient consumption.

Over time, it can also contribute to gut disturbances and various chronic diseases such as peptic ulcer disease and type 2 diabetes, both of which are quite prevalent in the shift working population.

So tune in to hear my biggest tip in helping to overcome weight gain whilst working 24/7, and why as weird as it sounds, we need to be thinking of ourselves as walking clocks … because as human beings, that’s exactly what we are – finely tuned walking clocks.

Audra x

 

Resources mentioned on the podcast:

The Obesity Code, by Dr Jason Fung available through Amazon

To book a Healthy Shift Worker Consultation with Audra Click Here.

Leptin Resistance:

What Is It, and What Make's Shift Workers Prone to It?

Something I hear often from many of my shift working clients is “ever since starting shift work, I’ve continued to gain weight.”

Perhaps this is something that you can relate too as well.

But why is this so?

Well the etiology (or cause) of weight gain and/or obesity is certainly very multifactorial, but one of the biggest drivers behind weight gain is due to a satiety or ‘hunger hormone’ called leptin.  You may remember from a previous blog post – Weight Loss and Shift Work, where I discuss how sleep deprivation is actually a type of endocrine or hormone disruptor – one of which includes leptin.

Leptin is a hormone that is stored in our fat cells and essentially tells us when we are feeling full.  It does this by sending a message to the pituitary gland in our brain, telling us when we’ve had enough to eat, and that we do not require any more food.

Quite simply, it acts a bit like a petrol gauge in our car, telling us when we’re full, versus getting close to empty.

But what happens in leptin resistance?

Well when we put on more and more weight, we produce more and more leptin which causes the receptors of our cells (the part of the cell which receives stimuli) to become fatigued (or resistant).  In other words, the body fails to receive those “I’m feeling full” signals, subsequently tricking the body into believing it isn’t carrying enough weight and needs to eat more.

It’s kind of a Catch 22 really, because the more fat we have, the more leptin is produced.

See the dilema here?

So if you keep putting on more and more weight, then you gain more and more fat cells which triggers more and more leptin, which causes the body to wrongly tell you that you’re starving, when in fact, you’ve probably had more than enough to eat.

It really can become a vicious cycle, but what can you do about it?

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