It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I have to admit, I’m not feeling too well today. I had my usual two servings of turkey Thursday evening. For some strange reason, I had three pieces my other sister-in-law’s coconut cake, and as usual, this Thanksgiving dinner was much later than my usual dinner time. The next morning, I slept in a little later, but still didn’t feel as refreshed as I normally would. Later that day, I spent the day with my two older boys, Jonas and Devin at the Intrepid Museum. For some odd reason, I was craving toffee that Devin had brought, I was was eating one every 30 minutes. This morning, I was feeling even more tired than normal, and during lunch, I was craving soda or some other sugary drink, which I normally don’t drink.
I finally realized that eating sugar, and over-eating later than normal on Thanksgiving lessened my sleep efficiency that night, which raised my craving for sugar the following day. This just goes to show how powerful even mild sleep deprivation can cause a rise in sugar cravings, which if chronic, can lead to unhealthy eating habits, ultimately leading to weight gain. Stress (emotional, physical or mental), is also known to increase cravings for sugary, fatty, or "comfort" foods. And weight gain is known to worsen sleep apnea. (To listen to an interview I did with Peter Lappin on how you can Beat the Sugar Habit Before It Beats You, click here.)
The holiday season is known to be the most stressful time of the year, with all the over-eating due to holiday parties and late night dinners. This is why the rate of heart attacks is also the highest during this time of the year. Knowing what I’ve described, we should all take appropriate measures to eat more sensibly (and earlier), drink alcohol in moderation (and earlier during the evening), and do everything that’s reasonably possible to reduce your stress levels. Find out how you can do this by joining me on December 15th, when I interview Dr. Niloo Dardashti, an integrative psychologist and holistic healer on 10 simple ways to reduce stress.
I’m sure if we had a collective sleep apnea meter that measures the total amount of sleep apnea in this country, it will most likely be at its’ peak level during the next month.
How are you going to address this issue, if any, this holiday season? Please enter your response in the comments box below.