We’ve all heard how important sleep is to maintaining good health. Well did you know it’s just as important in weight loss, too? Here are some tried and true sleep tips to help improve the quality of your sleep!
- Create a sleep schedule – Studies have shown creating a routine is how you can achieve long term success. The same goes for winding down at the end of the day. Create a schedule you can stick to so you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle. If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you’re tired. Repeat as needed.
- Mind what you eat – Part of the winding down process includes leaving the snacks and drinks after a certain time. Try not to go to sleep hungry or after a heavy meal, the discomfort may keep you awake. To get and stay in a restful sleep it’s recommended to limit what and how much you eat up to 2 hours before bedtime. On the nights you indulge, remember to limit alcohol, sugar, nicotine, and caffeine before bed. Though it seems like alcohol makes you sleepy, it disrupts your body’s normal functions and can cause you to wake up throughout the night. On the opposite end, the stimulating effects of sugar, nicotine, and caffeine can take hours to wear off and can disturb your quality sleep.
- Set the mood – Get in the habit of shutting off your devices and turning off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed. Blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep. Having the right ambience for most people means creating a cool, dark and quiet room ideal for sleeping. Consider using blackout shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. Doing calming activities before bedtime, like taking a bath, reading, or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.
- Daily physical activity – Exercising is one of the best ways to stay fit and can promote better sleep. It’s recommended daily activity of at least 15-30 minutes can drastically improve your quality and length of snooze time. Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too. Although daily exercise is key for a good night’s rest, activity too late in the day may cause sleep problems because your body is being stimulated, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
- Manage your stress – Try to quiet your mind before bedtime. Making a list of to-do’s for the next day or journaling are great practices to help you prepare to snooze. Another practice is setting aside time to meditate which can also ease anxiety and other mental and emotional stresses. Other self-care practices to support sleep include creating a soothing nightly skincare routine, massages, and using essentials oils to create a relaxing environment.
Making sleep a top priority and incorporating some of the tips above is not only good for your weight loss goals, but absolutely necessary for your health overall.