Studies are clear that sleep is very important when it comes to weight management. 7 appears to be the magic number! People who get around 7 hours of sleep tend to lose more weight when they attempt weight loss and gain less weight when they are trying to maintain their weight. People who are sleep deprived also consume more calories and crave foods that are higher in calories and fat. In addition, when you get less sleep your hormones respond by increasing ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes you feel more hungry) and decreasing leptin production (the hormone that signals your brain that you are full and to stop eating). The result? You feel hungrier, want less healthy food, and have less awareness of being full.
Consider trying these tips to help you get more sleep:
- Establish a regular bedtime routine to signal your body when it’s time for sleep
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day – you can even set your smartphone to signal you when it’s time to start getting ready for bed
- Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing and progressive relaxation just before bed
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool
- Limit your caffeine especially in the afternoon and evening
- Avoid watching TV or using your ipad or computer before bed, the light from these can disrupt your sleeping pattern
- Don’t try to sleep unless you’re sleepy, do something relaxing until you feel sleepy
- If you don’t fall asleep within 20-30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing so you don’t get frustrated
- Eat enough earlier in the evening so you don’t go to bed hungry or overly full
- Don’t use alcohol to make you sleepy, it interferes with REM sleep making you to feel more tired in the morning
- Avoid long naps and naps after 3 pm – short 30 – 45 minutes naps can be refreshing if they don’t occur too late in the day
- If you snore excessively, have been told you stop breathing for short periods while you sleep or feel tired during the day despite sleeping at night, speak to your doctor – you may have sleep apnea.
- If you have chronic insomnia talk to your doctor – you may need to see a sleep specialist