Do you ever have those days where you leave home only to be hit by a reality you haven’t noticed in a while? Everyone’s walking around with raccoon eyes and blank stares on their faces, looking unkempt and sluggish, seeming like they’ve kind of given up… It’s not just you who has been noticing. Just look at the research that’s being done on the American population – it’s almost a direct reflection of the picture painted above!
In 2016, obesity affected 93,300,000 U.S. adults, a number that has likely grown in the last two years. Back in 2014, the CDC also announced that sleep deprivation was a public health epidemic with over 70,000,000 adults with a sleep disorder as living proof.[1-3] Scientists are even suggesting there is even a direct link between these two health epidemics.
Is There Truly a Link Between Obesity and sleep Disorders?
A 2013 review published in Nature and Science of Sleep explored whether there was an association between sleep disorders and obesity. After analyzing various obesity and sleep disorder studies (including insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome), researchers found that “decreased sleep duration and quality is associated with an increase in body weight and adiposity,” a condition of being severely overweight, or obese.[4,5]
Now more than ever, in an age of convenience where we’re constantly exposed to artificial light, food, and stimulation 24 hours a day, sleep is savior – and studies are affirming this over and over again. On average, adults should aim for getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
The Scary Side Effects of Sleep Disorders and Obesity
Disagree? Recent studies published in Obesity, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, and Environmental Health Perspectives have all proved that the less you sleep, the more weight you gain. What’s scary is that obesity isn’t even the worst part of having a sleep disorder…
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Of course, officials and governments have labeled it a public health epidemic, but there’s a tidal wave of side effects and other problems that trail right behind, including:[6-11]
- Decreased glucose tolerance
- Decreased insulin sensitivity
- Increased evening concentrations of cortisol
- Increased levels of ghrelin
- Decreased levels of leptin
- Increased hunger and appetite
- Chronic inflammation
- Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Some of you might already be working hard during the day to counteract the effects of sleep loss and weight gain through different diets and exercise. We understand – there are only so many hours and so much energy any given person has… But, what if there was a way to get more sleep and manage your weight with your eyes closed? Literally. Keep reading and you might be in luck…
Enjoy These Drinks Every Night to Sleep Better and Lose Weight
1) Psyllium Apple Lemon Balm Tea
- 1 apple
- 1 cup lemon balm tea, cooled
- 2 tsp psyllium husk powder
- ¼ tsp true cinnamon
When you blend these ingredients together, the psyllium husk absorbs moisture and forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract which improves bowel movements. It also helps reduce fat absorption from the intestine. You can use cold water if you don’t have lemon balm tea, although this type of tea has been shown to have mild sedative effects. Including pure cinnamon will help regulate your blood sugar which can, in turn, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the conversion of sugar into stored fat.[12-15]
2) Aloe Vera Cherry Juice
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 oz aloe vera juice
- 2-4 oz tart cherry juice
Mix the ingredients thoroughly and drink – preferably before you brush your teeth! Research has shown tart cherry juice to increase people’s melatonin levels, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle, and enhance sleep. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties which fights water retention that makes you think you’ve gained extra weight all of a sudden! Aloe vera also has healing properties which may help aid digestion and reduce fat deposits and, therefore, weight gain.[16,17]
3) Lemon-Ginger and Chamomile Tea
- 6 oz chamomile tea
- 5-10 slices of cucumber with skin
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Pinch of Himalayan salt (optional)
Blend these ingredients to enjoy a refreshing pre-bedtime drink! The high-fiber content of the cucumber slices actually binds with fatty acids to help your body excrete them more quickly. (This helps keep fat content in your digestive tract to a minimum!) Together, the detoxifying lemon juice and anti-inflammatory ginger help reduce water retention, indigestion, and gas that commonly disrupt sleep. Using chamomile tea instead of water is helpful, too, as studies have shown that it can have a mild sedative effect.[18,19]
4) Dairy-Free Honey Nutmeg Milk
- 1 cup dairy milk (in the case of dietary restrictions, cashew or almond milk are good options)
- 1-2 tsp raw organic honey
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
After heating up your milk of choice, add in the honey and nutmeg and stir until dissolved. Contrary to popular belief, a February 2013 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that 11 out of 16 studies showed that consuming milk regularly (even the full-fat kind) can actually help prevent weight gain. Some people use cashew milk because it contains tryptophan which is known to help induce sleep, while others use almond milk because it contains the relaxation mineral, magnesium. In either case, both should help when it comes to getting some sleep.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that usually has to compete with other amino acids to get into the brain. But when carbohydrates are present, the body releases insulin which redirects the other amino acids to your muscles. Since honey is carbohydrate, this natural sweetener enables tryptophan to reach your brain with little to no competition! Nutmeg has also been shown to have sedative properties in mice studies, so it’s hard to say whether it affects humans in exactly the same way. Traditionally, however, people have always touted nutmeg as a fantastic all-natural sleep aid.[20-24]
Now you know 4 sleepy time drinks that actually work!
Far too often we can get into diet and exercise while forgetting that without sleep, the puzzle will never be complete! That’s what makes these drinks so great – you only need a few natural ingredients to have a huge impact on your sleep, weight, and overall health. Plus, they taste amazing! So, what are you waiting for? Tonight could be the night you have the best sleep ever.
- Overweight & Obesity. (2018, June 12). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
- Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (2017, May 02). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html
- Howe, N. (2017, August 18). America The Sleep-Deprived. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2017/08/18/america-the-sleep-deprived/#4d7072371a38
- Hargens, T. A., Kaleth, A. S., Edwards, E. S., & Butner, K. L. (2013). Association between sleep disorders, obesity, and exercise: A review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3630986/
- Adiposity Medical Definition Written by Doctors. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=196295
- Thomson, C. A., Morrow, K. L., Flatt, S. W., Wertheim, B. C., Perfect, M. M., Ravia, J. J., . . . Rock, C. L. (2012, July). Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22402738
- Beccuti, G., & Pannain, S. (2011, July). Sleep and obesity. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/
- Spivey, A. (2010, January). Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: Another Piece of the Obesity Puzzle. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831987/
- Sprecher, K. E., Koscik, R. L., Carlsson, C. M., Zetterberg, H., Blennow, K., Okonkwo, O. C., . . . Bendlin, B. B. (2017, August 01). Poor sleep is associated with CSF biomarkers of amyloid pathology in cognitively normal adults. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28679595
- Morselli, L., Leproult, R., Balbo, M., & Spiegel, K. (2010, October). Role of sleep duration in the regulation of glucose metabolism and appetite. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018785/
- Bassett, S. M., Lupis, S. B., Gianferante, D., Rohleder, N., & Wolf, J. M. (2015). Sleep quality but not sleep quantity effects on cortisol responses to acute psychosocial stress. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4914363/
- Anderson, J. W. (1988, February 01). Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid for Hypercholesterolemic Men. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/609392
- Jarvill-Taylor, K. J., Anderson, R. A., & Graves, D. J. (2001, August). A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11506060
- Imparl-Radosevich, J., Deas, S., Polansky, M. M., Baedke, D. A., Ingebritsen, T. S., Anderson, R. A., & Graves, D. J. (1998, September). Regulation of PTP-1 and insulin receptor kinase by fractions from cinnamon: Implications for cinnamon regulation of insulin signalling. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9762007
- Kennedy, D. O., Scholey, A. B., Tildesley, N. T., Perry, E. K., & Wesnes, K. A. (2002, July). Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12062586
- Rapid Eye Movement (Rem) Sleep Deprivation : Effect on Acid Mucopolysaccharides in Rat Brain. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13813457509081866
- Howatson, G., Bell, P. G., Tallent, J., Middleton, B., McHugh, M. P., & Ellis, J. (2011, October 30). Effect of tart cherry juice ( Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7
- Ginger-An Herbal Medicinal Product with Broad Anti-Inflammatory Actions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125
- Singh, O., Khanam, Z., Misra, N., & Srivastava, M. K. (2011). Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): An overview. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210003/
- Peter, D. J., Bashammakh, S., Hörtnagl, H., Voits, M., Fink, H., & Bader, M. (2003, January 03). Synthesis of Serotonin by a Second Tryptophan Hydroxylase Isoform. Retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/content/299/5603/76
- M., Subarnas, A., Apriyantono, A., & Mustarichie, R. (2010). Identification of Compounds in the Essential Oil of Nutmeg Seeds (Myristica fragrans Houtt.) That Inhibit Locomotor Activity in Mice. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3000115/
- Grover, J. K., Khandkar, S., Vats, V., Dhunnoo, Y., & Das, D. (2002, December). Pharmacological studies on Myristica fragrans–antidiarrheal, hypnotic, analgesic and hemodynamic (blood pressure) parameters. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12616960
- Rätsch, C. (2005). The encyclopedia of psychoactive plants: Ethnopharmacology and its applications. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.
- Kratz, M., Baars, T., & Guyenet, S. (2012, July 19). The relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and obesity, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-012-0418-1
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