Just Take a Nap Mama: How Sleep can Alter Function, Performance, and Fat Loss


I call it mama-limbo, my friend Kristen calls it nap paralysis. You might, in fact, have your own silly name for it; that moment when you finally get little Bobby down for a nap or bed and you freeze.

You look around your house or at your to-do list and cannot, for the life of you, decide what the hell to do first.

Nap? Work out? Dishes? Call the washer repair guy? Email your boss back?

You’re feeling wiped because, Bobby, well he’s been teething and his nap and night schedules are off so therefore you’re off, your partner is off, and anyone else who might sleep in close proximity to Bobby’s room is off too.

You’re sucking down half a pot of coffee each morning just to stay afloat and alert. And, you’re tired. OH. SO. TIRED.

So what should you do?

If you’ve read my article on returning to exercise postpartum and can answer ‘no’ to all the questions, then maybe a light workout (perhaps yoga) is just what you need.

However, if you’re dealing with constant sleep deprivation- less than six hours a day- your best bet is a nap.

Why? Well, my guess is that you’re working out to feel better or likely lose fat and build muscle. Am I right? Then running on fumes is NOT going to help your case.

In fact, consistent lack of sleep is working against you and ALL of the aforementioned goals.

Research has shown that those between 32 and 49 years old, sleeping less than 7 hours a night are significantly more likely to be obese. Sleep deprivation negatively affects hormones that promote fat loss like growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, cortisol and our insulin sensitivity causing excess fat storage and obesity.

Lack of sleep can also affect the hormones responsible for stimulating hunger and appetite, leptin and ghrelin, causing mad cravings for calorie-dense, fat-laden foods like cookies and ice cream; they don’t call it chubby hubby for nothin’.

Sleep deprivation, over time can affect cognitive function, increasing mood swings and memory loss.

And lastly, if you’re breastfeeding, lack of sleep can be a major contributor to diminished milk supply (as can over-exercising, under eating, and dehydration).

Let’s face it, when you become a mom you feel like you may never sleep again. And for a while, sleep might be really rough. Most new parents face a few blips (or a lot of blips) in their sleep schedule for months or even years.

Remember, this is a season and it too shall pass.

Take that nap, mama. Your body and brain will thank you.

In health,

Lauren

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