The power of sleep is often underestimated.
Little do people know the importance of a quality slumber. It is an integral aspect of PCOS recovery and must not be overlooked. The lack of it might leave you feeling tired and bloated, which might stick around throughout your day.
Sleep has a strong link with your body’s weight loss. (Here, by weight loss we are referring to fat loss, improving body composition and bone weight and not just losing kilograms on your weighing scale!)
Leptin and ghrelin are the two hormones at play!
Leptin secreted by fat cells makes you feel full and asks you to stop eating further.
Ghrelin, secreted by your GI tract makes you feel hungry and urges you to eat.
You need both of these hormones to sleep well and function at the best. Not following a good sleep hygiene can over-secrete ghrelin levels at night, cause hunger pangs which ultimately results in a disturbed sleep.
Prolonged disturbed sleep can result in Leptin resistance and might further worsen your eating habits!
A few ‘side- effects’ include –
- Increased sugar cravings,
- mood swings,
- uncontrollable hunger pangs,
- hormonal imbalance,
- decreased insulin sensitivity,
- stress and anxiety
How does PCOS interfere with sleep?
According to a study conducted, PCOS patients were 30 times more likely to suffer from insomnia and disordered breathing during sleep. Women with PCOS also are more likely to have EDS (excessive daytime sleepiness) which may be inter-related to fatigue due to the piling deficiencies in the body as well as the side effects of the hormonal “pills” that your doctor prescribed you to “fix” PCOS. Well, sadly there is no such quick fix!
Experts believe that women with PCOS may be at a higher risk for sleep disturbance due to insulin resistance. Women with PCOS tend to overproduce insulin. It is a hormone that allows our cells to use glucose (sugar) to produce energy. When this occurs, the cells lose their ability to respond normally to insulin, and this can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes.
It sounds scary, doesn’t it? Long term implications are more likely to happen because of your inaction right now. Let’s have a look into what would help you prevent this!
Sleep Hygiene Mantras :
- Limit screen time before you go to bed.
It is advised to stay away from your phones, laptops or the TV at least 45 minutes prior sleeping. This helps to maintain your biological clock. Screen radiations disturb the secretion of melatonin (a hormone which triggers sleep) and might interfere in your quality of sleep. Ideally, you shouldn’t need an alarm for waking up. It should be as natural as breathing is! Going to sleep at the same time every day and naturally waking up around the same time, with a deep, restful sleep takes practice.
- No consumption of caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants.
These drinks prevent you from entering the REM or deep sleep which are the restorative stages of that one undergoes. It is in these stages that your body actually carries out the repair and restoration work, both mentally and physically. They also decrease the oxygen supply to the brain, which might make you wake up feeling groggy. They reduce serotonin levels, which is crucial for keeping a calmer mood and also keep the sugar cravings in check.
- No sugar/dessert post sunset
Having sugar, interferes with your sleep cycles and causes a disturbed sleep. You may end up waking many times in the night, not able to sleep calmly and also feel tired in the morning.
- Participating in regular exercise
This perhaps is my favorite point of all! I mean just look at the way exercise is under-rated for PCOS reversal in the midst of all the fancy crash diets and treatments. Those who exercise regularly tend to have a more restful sleep. Exercise reduces daytime sleepiness and disordered breathing symptoms associated with OSA. So, exercising for about 1 to 1.5 hours during the day boosts metabolism and is possibly the best way to achieve a quality sleep.
- Bring back mosquito nets instead of chemical repellents
It is always better to sleep without the smell of chemical repellents wafting into your nose.
- Sleep in a cool, well ventilated (windows open) and dark room.
Keep the curtains open to allow sunlight to reach your bedroom so that your bio-clock naturally activates your brain and alertness levels.
We all are familiar with our good ol’ friend – Procrastination. “I will do it tomorrow!” is a phrase that is close to almost everybody’s heart. It’s the best excuse to push your plans to the next day and not feel guilty at the same time.
But are you going to get better tomorrow? Are you sure you that you WILL start? How many tomorrows have gone by?
Let’s be healthier TODAY.