Most people do not associate sleep as part of their fat loss plan, but you would be surprised at how much of an important role regular sleep habits play in our ability to lose weight. Our bodies give us plenty of signals when we're tired, but some of us are so used to being sleep deprived that we remain oblivious to how impaired we really are. Some people believe that if they sleep more on the weekend, they will make up for all of the sleep debt they accrued during the work week. It actually can take weeks of building up restorative sleep habits. To erase your sleep debt, you would need to aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. In the meantime, here are some signs you might be sleep deprived.

1.  You have trouble making simple decisions and are overwhelmed by
       everyday minor details.
2.  You're eating all day and are still hungry.
3.  You keep coming down with cold viruses or infections.
4.  You're emotionally volatile or feeling blue.
5.  You have impaired reflexes or have become clumsy.

Studies show that chronic sleep loss can disrupt blood sugar levels and cause the body to produce less leptin, a hormone that curbs appetite, and more ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger. Because of these physiological changes, you may be more likely to overeat when you skimp on sleep and the food you pick probably won't be either nutritious or a lasting source of energy. Tired people tend to be particularly drawn to sugars and other simple carbohydrates, because the body is looking for a quick pick-me-up. Sleep deprivation also tends to erode self-control, making you more likely to choose a brownie over carrot sticks. Here are some ways you can suppress daytime fogginess, and possibly get better sleep.
  1. An early morning walk will help you sync up your internal clock to the sun, avoiding an energy slump in the afternoon.
  2. A power nap of 20 to 30 minutes may help ward off fatigue. Try to take a siesta after lunch, when your energy levels are particularly low.
  3. Work on something interesting. Even tired people pay better attention to tasks they find mentally stimulating.
  4. Big meals and high-sugar foods can cause blood sugar to spike, then plummet, so every few hours eat a snack (about 100 calories), or try smaller meals (of no more than 400 calories) that contain complex carbohydrates, some protein, and a small amount of healthy fat. Try a handful of nuts or reduced-fat cheese and whole grain crackers at low-energy times of the day, typically, early morning and late afternoon.

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