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LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: Sleep Yourself Thin

By March 10, 2016December 7th, 2022Orange County

“I get asked everyday how to lose weight. One of the most important things that one can do to prevent weight gain, as well as develop a strong platform for overall health and well being, is to get an adequate amount of sleep,” said Rachele Marsh, exclusive Body Whisper for OC Mom Magazine and expert for our ‘Listen To Your Body’ column here.

rachele body whispererAs a leading fitness expert, body consultant and health coach in Orange County, Marsh knows a thing or two about what does a body good.

“According to The International Journal of Obesity, obesity has been a self-reported side effect of sleep deprivation for many years. However, a fairly recent study at Pennsylvania State University showed that disturbance in even a single night’s sleep can cause hormonal changes that can lead to weight gain,” Marsh shared.

“So, basically, not only do you feel lousy after being up all night with a sick kid, or just spread thin trying be the super mom that you are and burning the candle at both ends—now it is going to make you fat too they’re saying?! Oh, for the love. But there’s hope!”

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“Sleep is not out of reach, we just need to work at it. And it’s worth it. When you get a great night sleep, you feel like a million bucks—and your body runs with thankful efficiency.”

rachele marsh

“Partial sleep deprivation may influence appetitive hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, that aid in the regulation of appetite and body weight. And since weight loss also produces alterations in ghrelin and leptin to increase hunger, this may add to the effects of partial sleep deprivation.”

“The hormone, ghrelin, is referred to as ‘the hunger hormone. If that sends a red flag up to you, GOOD!  Not getting enough sleep causes an increase in ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry!). Can you recall a time when you didn’t get enough sleep and felt hungry the next day? If so, now you know why.”

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It’s shown that six hours of sleep is required to avoid this negative hormonal response. However, every body is different.

“For some, the magic number might be five … or nine. Pay attention to the way you are feeling (how hungry you are) when you have gotten as much sleep as you would like—and also when you would have liked to have gotten more. For me, personally, it is a sliding scale. The less sleep I get, the less control I have over my hunger. But even the smallest amount of sleep deprivation seems to chip away at my ability to make the best nutritional decisions for my body. I seem to gravitate towards the most calorically packed foods possible.”

“Getting  the right amount of sleep may be the simplest, and one of the most effective solutions to weight loss there is.”


“I can absolutely recall more than one time in my life when sleep wasn’t a priority—or even a possibility. “I will never forget my brother coming over to my house when my daughter was about a month old. He looked me up and down, shook his head and told me that there was a reason that sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture, and I should really consider getting some.” SO what do you do if you really want to sleep and just can’t?


  1. In order to get a good night’s sleep, you must first make it a priority. If you are not waking up feeling rested and refreshed, there is a problem somewhere in your sleep equation. Listen to your body in order to find the right solution(s) for YOU.
  2. Start moving: while exercise isn’t a magic bullet for sleep, it has been proven that people who develop regular exercise programs sleep better. (Just make sure that you aren’t exercising vigorously close to bedtime, that could actually make the insomnia worse. )
  3. No naps or java late in the day. While a nap can be invigorating, if you take it too late in the day, it might leave you up all night. And the same goes for caffeine, that cup of coffee that felt like it saved you at 4:00 p.m., might be the very thing keeping you up late and sleep deprived to begin with.
  4. Have an evening ritual will increase your odds of getting a solid night’s sleep. Do you have a bedtime? (Whenever you’re done running yourself into the ground doesn’t count as a time.) Having a set sleep schedule is key to eradicating insomnia. Develop a bedtime  that works for you and your family and stick to it.
  5. Create a great sleep space. (If you do have a TV in your room, try to keep it off an hour before bed.  Give yourself time to unwind before bed.)
  6. If you simply cannot unwind, try these nighttime-ritual tricks: take a warm bath to shower (will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and immediately start to relax you), enjoy a cup of warm chamomile tea, spritz your sheets with aromatherapy scents of lavender, germanium, chamomile, take magnesium to chill out (check out Natural Calm at vitamin stores).
  7. Avoid alcohol before bed. As it starts to wear off, your body can go from a deep sleep, back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from.
  8. Try deep breathing and white noise (there’s an app for that); just shut your eyes.
  9. Finally, the kiddos. I am not trying to suggest any changes in your parenting or parenting philosophies (however, it is quite hard to rest peacefully and stay soundly asleep if you have one or more child jabbing their feet into your mouth and laying horizontally across your the middle of the night). Do what is best for you and your family, but if you’re not sleeping well, alter the family patterns.
  10. Remember, sleep is key to your health and certainly crucial to being Fit and Fabulous! So set your mind to it and your body will follow.

rachele bio

For more everyday inspiration, visit Rachele at And stay tuned here for more LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. #FitFab



I’m a Jane of all trades. And master at many. As a career advertising writer, I’ve written for the top ad agencies in Orange County. I also write for many Orange County magazines. Finally, I’m hired as a Social Influencer and Brand Ambassador for various local OC brands. It’s a little of this, a little of that, and a lot of love for what I do with gratitude for those I work with. Learn more at .