Eating well and exercising aren’t the only factors in weight management. It’s been proven over and over that sleep and stress management also play big roles in your physical health. I’ve witnessed their effects firsthand many times.
During the times I’ve been most sleep-deprived, I’ve also been the most unhappy. Sometimes, I could have controlled my circumstances better, like by not taking a job that started at 4 A.M. Most of the time, the circumstances were beyond my control. My sleep suffered greatly during pregnancy and the first few months with my newborns. Right now, during Covid-19, I find that I have a lot more nightmares and wake up feeling less rested than normal.
Simply put, a lack of sleep throws off everything. For me, it means overall unhappiness and lots of cravings for sweets. Sometimes, the only way to fix sleep issues is to wait for the situation to resolve (like Covid-19) or for the baby to get a little older and sleep all night. If there is something you can adjust to make sure you get enough sleep, do it! Your health will thank you. I never thought much of sleep deprivation during high school, but I learned from my mistakes and make sleep a top priority now. I’m also passing that on to my kids by making sure they go to bed early enough.
When I was pregnant, I struggled to get enough sleep and felt too tired or sore to exercise, especially during the later months. I turned to food to alleviate my stress. Though I felt really guilty about it at the time, I don’t now. The effects may be temporary, but eating always helps me feel a little better.
Now, I have the option to get enough sleep and exercise. I’ve added some other techniques to help me with my stress:
- reading a book alone in my room
- doing yoga
- talking to my husband about my feelings
- watching something funny on TV or YouTube
When times are good, these techniques keep me calm so I don’t feel a need to stress eat.
Right now, though, we’re in the middle of pretty stressful situation. I feel like my entire life got turned upside down in a day. Some days I feel peaceful, but often I feel anxious, irritated, or stressed to the point of a stomachache or headache. I find myself reaching for food when the other stuff doesn’t work, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. If the world really ends, is it going to matter that I ate ice cream more than usual?
Life is hard. Do the best you can with sleep and stress management. If it doesn’t work all the time, it means you’re still alive.