I just discovered that my love handles might not be Nutella-filled solely due to lack of willpower, but the result of lack of sleep as well. One of the big culprits keeping us from getting all our Zzzzzzzs is our electronic devices. Before portable gadgets came along I used to read a book to unwind before bed, but now I curl up with my beloved iPad and surf, pin, like, friend, comment, and play all sorts of mindless games. By the time I finally set my device aside, I’m so wired my eyelids have forgotten how to function, and I end up looking like those creepy dolls whose eyes don’t shut anymore, or at least not in unison. My device might be powered off, but I’m not. I just lay and stare at the ceiling, or worse yet, the alarm clock.
Ever since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, our internal clock, known as our circadian rhythm, has been out of whack. Before then, we took our cues from the sun… we got up when it did, and when it slipped under the cloak of night we slipped under our blankies for a long replenishing snooze.
When God said, “Let there be light,” I don’t think He wanted us to abuse it like we do. We can summon this miracle with a flip of a switch any time of the day or night, and as a result, we’ve messed up our body’s biorhythm so much so that it affects us on a hormonal level. The blue light emanating from our electronic devices boosts attention, so it actually is beneficial during daylight hours, but that’s not what we need just before bed.
“Sleep deprivation perpetuates a vicious cycle of excess stress hormones, reduced sleep-inducing melatonin and low growth hormone.” Dr. Natasha Turner, The Hormone Diet
What’s worse, if you get less than 5 hours of sleep per night, or suffer with insomnia, like I do, cortisol, the stress hormone, elevates significantly making it even harder for you to lose weight. Studies show that sleep deprived subjects have an increased appetite and tend to crave high-calorie, high-sugary foods… hence, my Nutella-filled hips.
That’s it! I’m grounding myself. NO devices after 9 PM, since it’s recommended to power down two hours before bedtime. Wowser! My inner child just threw a ‘but Mom!’ hissy fit as I typed that. This might be harder than giving up carbs when I tested Paleo, or BBQ ribs when I tested the Whole Food, Plant-Based diet. Giving up a food group during 12 in 12 just means bidding adieu for a month, but banning devices a few hours before bedtime must be a forever thing if I want to improve my health and waistline. And you know what they say, “An Apple device a night keeps the doctor prescribing sleeping pills.” No, they don’t say that. I made that up because I’ve popped a sleeping pill every night for the last 5 days and they’re not working anymore.
This is going to be tough. I feel like Rose letting go of Jack’s hand in the frozen Atlantic (as she hogged the wooden door she floated on), that fateful night the Titanic went down. Oh iPad and iPhone, will my heart go on without you? I’m not sure… hopefully I’ll get rid of the dark circles under my eyes, and my thunder thighs might get downgraded to a tropical storm if I follow through on my device diet.
Note to family, friends and acquaintances: I apologize for not responding to you via cyberspace after 9 PM, Toronto time going forward. However, if you do get a response after that time you know that I caved and am a slave to Steve Jobs’ ghost.
For my Week 36 food journal, click here.