Any parent knows how crappy the sleep situation is right after you have a baby- it is not a pretty sight! Baby schedules are so crazy when they are first born (I mean, it is understandable, they need to figure out how to live and stuff)! I remember a few nights there right at the beginning when we would be up all night with baby because he just wanted to be awake- Sky and I would look at each other at 5am and just be like, “FINALLY, we made it through the night” haha. Who else is with me?!
Luckily, this guy has gotten WAY better at sleeping during night time & we could not be happier, I swear! Sleep is so important for our health (and especially for our weight). When we go into sleep debt our hormones get a little wacky. Our bodies naturally produce hormones called leptin and ghrelin- lack of sleep really affects these hormones!
Leptin basically tells your brain that you are satiated or full. Obviously, when you are trying to watch your weight, you want more of this hormone and need your body to be highly sensitive to leptin. The more leptin, the more full you feel and the less you feel like you need to eat. Which is a good thing, ammiright?!
Ghrelin is the hormone that you don’t want as much of- it is the hormone that tells your brain that you are hungry. Bring on the junk food, baby! When you are not getting enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin. This can cause huge problems because when you are tired AND hungry, generally people reach for fast food (ie junk food). Who wants to take the time to make a healthy meal when you’re hangry? Yeah, not most people. This creates a pretty bad cycle (not gonna lie, those nights that we were up with baby we definitely pounded some cookies).
So not only is it important to get enough sleep to just function during the day, but it is also really important for weight loss and to prevent other chronic diseases (according to the CDC it contributes to hypertension, diabetes and depression, see HERE) . The National Health Institute recommends getting at least 7.5 hours of continuous sleep each night- totally doable you guys. If you have work at 9am and you need 1 hour to get ready and get there, so you have to wake up at 8am- just make sure you’re in bed by midnight and you are sitting (or sleeping) pretty.
I get that when you are a new parent this can be out of your control. You’re awake when baby is awake and you can (try) to sleep when baby is catching some zzz’s but it can make your sleep schedule really crazy. So just do the best that you can! Naps are lifesavers & taking turns with your spouse can really make a big difference. Our favorite is to hang in our jammies in bed until mid-morning so we can all catch a little bit more shut eye.
I know you can’t control how much or when you sleep but you can control how much and what you eat. It doesn’t have to be perfect by any means (plus if you are breastfeeding you need to make sure and get enough calories that you can make enough milk) but making healthier decisions really can make a difference. Just be conscious of what you put in your mouth- it’ll help with your weight loss and overall wellness AND will help you not gain weight too. Win win win.
What things do you do as a parent to help get more sleep/avoid the junk food? Sky and I just make sure to plan our meals ahead of time- even breakfast! Making sure we have a comprehensive grocery list & knowing exactly what to eat takes the guess work out of the equation when you walk into the kitchen. I like to have a plan of what to make and instructions handy so as soon as I walk into the kitchen I know exactly what I am doing and I don’t get so distracted by the not-so-healthy stuff 🙂