Good luck with that.
It is true what everyone’s saying, that you need to sleep in order to lose weight. It’s kind of like saying you need to breathe in order to lose weight … obviously so. But, you shouldn’t be concerned with turning the stove off when the house is on fire.
DEFINING ENOUGH SLEEP
The types of sleeping habits that actually do cause people to not lose weight or even gain some, are not representative of most people. They’re the medical residents sleeping 4 or less hours per day or the workaholic doing the same, often consistently over long periods. Long enough to mess up their endocrine systems which are the culprit for the non weight loss and likely more.
If you’re one of those and are not sleeping enough to that degree then you have much bigger problems than your weight.
Most of us don’t fall into that category. We all experience insomnia to some degree and it generally has to do with anxiety.
LIKE THE ELEPHANT
There’s a reason why you’re not sleeping. Worry and stress are powerful and they don’t care if you tell yourself that an expert on CNN said that you need to sleep to lose weight. It’s not going to help. They care about the fact that you perceive threats out in the world, real or imagined it doesn’t matter because they are real to you, and so you better pay attention.
Your weight, looks, status and even long term health don’t matter. Now matters, the dangers in the present. That’s why behind all of the change you want to enable in your life lies your psychology. Managing your emotions usually comes first. Not that you can’t do anything positive and worthwhile if you experience anxiety, you’ll just be limited in what you can do, and it will be harder as well.
So we can talk and tell ourselves and each other about getting enough sleep until we’re blue in the face but it won’t do much. First, as mentioned above because most people don’t experience chronic, sleep deprivation to the extent required to mess themselves up, and second because just knowing we should sleep more or wanting to sleep more won’t make us sleep more.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
To start off you’re going to want to try to practice the best sleep hygiene possible. That means going to bed and waking up at the same times, not eating or drinking too much before bed, minimal screen time, dim lights, quiet etc… you all know that.
Next is to accept that sometimes you’ll experience insomnia and to not fret as much as you can about it, just letting it slide and sticking to your routine. This takes a lot of the tension out of your sleep problem and gives you a better next day overall.
Third is to tackle the monumental task of unearthing your issues and growing emotionally. To do this simply go to a therapist and pay $200/hour each week for 10 years, journal everyday, join a group, meditate and read good psychology books. Or, a faster way is to invite your parents AND in-laws simultaneously, to stay over at your house for a year and tell them the truth everyday. Most people choose option 1.
But, even if you manage to sleep perfectly you still won’t lose weight, you’ll only remove a barrier to weight loss that you never really had.