Being creatures of habit can be both a positive and a negative. Sleep, and the lack of sleep, are habits that impact many aspects of your life including your food intake and weight. Knowing what a big impact your habits can have on your health is the first step to creating a sound routine.
The World Health Organization found that our bodies follow a circadian rhythm that can be altered by creating new “norms” such as: an alarm clock, eating ice cream at 8 p.m., or playing computer games or looking at Facebook instead of going to bed. What we find with these new “normal” behaviors is that our bodies get used to doing the same thing, whether it be a lack of sleep or eating large meals. When this happens, we “hear” ourselves asking for the same things at the same times daily even if they are not good for us.
Recognizing the triggers that alter your circadian rhythm in a negative way can help you control behaviors, even if those behaviors are ingrained into your routine. Stress and a lack of sleep are big contributors to food consumption, cravings and taking in extra calories even when you are not hungry.
So how do you control these cravings and bad habits? Here are a few tips to follow:
- Use relaxation techniques
- Try music therapy set on a timer before going to sleep
- Dim the lights at the end of your workday to wind down
- Perform stretching exercises
- Record your food intake and how you are feeling just before and at the time of the intake for several days to discover patterns
- Do not skip meals
- Plan a schedule allowing for 8 hours of sleep per night and stick to it for 2 weeks
- Stay hydrated with water
Changing your circadian rhythm isn’t easy, but knowing what patterns need changing is the first step. Derailment of the best plan is going to happen, just try to stay positive and focus on how far you have come instead of how many changes remain.