Sleep Better Tonight to Lose Weight Tomorrow

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

It may seem like no big deal: you’re so busy during the day that you just need to just finish one more load of laundry, check one last batch of emails, straighten up one last room, watch just one more episode of your favorite show… and in what feels like no time, it’s way late, you’re still up, and the alarm is going to ring in too-few hours. And this happens. A lot. The truth: It is a big deal for your health. You need to sleep better.

Think about all the changes you’ve made or are starting to make: you’re eating better, doing your best to move a little more throughout the day, and maybe you even tried meditation to help ease stress. All those good efforts to lose weight can be hindered by skimping on sleep.

Research has shown that people who sleep fewer than five or six hours per night on a regular basis were more likely to have excess body weight and become obese. Part of the reason may be that sleep deprivation can shift the balance of hormones that control hunger—increasing the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and lowering levels of leptin, the hormone that helps you feel full. Plus, the longer you’re awake, the more likely you are to indulge in some late-night snacking; and if you’re tired the next day, the chances of you getting to the gym, or opting to walk to the store instead of drive, are undeniably less.

Consider sleep a necessity, not a luxury, and aim for 7 to 9 hours each night. To help: stick to a consistent bedtime; avoid caffeine later in the evening; relax before bed with a warm shower or good book; and make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark. That means no glowing light from your smart phone or tablet: the blue light from the screens mimics daylight and stimulates you, which can disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle so you end feeling tired or anxious in the morning. Plus, reading emails right before bed might keep you awake with stress, so try your best to power all the electronics down about a half-hour before bedtime.