Sleeping isn’t something we necessarily put a lot of thought into because it’s something we automatically do at the end of every day. Did you know that a good night’s sleep directly affects your ability to lose weight/fat? If you’ve ever had a sleepless night, you know some the obvious things you will experience are low energy levels, foggy brain, irritability and sometimes anxiety over not getting the sleep you needed.
Sleepless nights can also affect your hormones which will affect your ability to lose weight. Without the rest your body needs, your sensitivity to Leptin (the hormone that lets you know when you’re full or satiated) will decrease and your Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) levels will increase. This can be a very difficult cycle to break and my goal is to help you avoid this.
If you’re already getting quality sleep every night and you wake up feeling rejuvenated, keep doing what you’re doing :). If you find yourself feeling exhausted in the morning more than 3 times a week, you may need to change some things. Your ability to lose fat or maintain a healthy weight and perform at your level best will depend on it!
Keep in mind, everyone is different so what helps one person sleep may not be what helps you. To be successful with a good night’s sleep you need to take some time to experiment with the suggestions below. Once you try something new, take a mental note or write down on paper how you feel in the morning. Are you rejuvenated or do you feel like you could sleep for a few more hours? Practice the things that promoted sleep and cut out the things that did not :).
Things that will inhibit a good night’s sleep:
- Caffeine – Obviously drinking a caffeinated beverage right before bed is not going to prepare your body for sleep, but some have a problem falling asleep when they’ve had caffeine 8-10 hours before falling asleep.
- Nicotine – It’s a stimulant which can make it hard to sleep but smokers can also go through nicotine withdrawal making it a challenge to stay asleep. Email me if you’re interested in quitting smoking, we have resources that can help you :).
- Sugar – You can’t avoid sugar altogether and I’m not suggesting you should, however, keeping your sugar intake between 50 – 75g can be very beneficial.
- Alcohol – While drinking alcohol can make you feel sleepy and may actually cause you to fall asleep, if you drink too much (more than 2 drinks) it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
- Eating a big meal less than 3 hours before bed – Your body needs time to digest a big meal. It’s best to leave 4 hours between your last meal and your bed time.
- High Intensity workouts less than 4 hours before bed – Your body needs time to recover and your adrenaline levels need time to come down. Give yourself 4-5 hours between an intense workout and your bed time.
- Avoid Blue-light 30min before bed – TV, ipad, tablet, phone, computer…all of these things will stimulate your brain making it challenging for you to come to a restful state of mind. If you are going to watch TV right before bed, turn it off before you fall asleep.
Things that will promote quality sleep:
- Don’t get too much and don’t get too little – In general, we all need 6-8 hours of sleep. How much sleep YOU need is worth taking the time to figure out because not getting enough sleep and getting too much sleep can leave you feeling the same way – anything BUT rejuvenated. The following article will help you figure out how much sleep you need: http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm
- Stick to a Sleep Schedule – Try going to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day – weekends too. This will help reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle which can lead to a more restful night’s sleep. If you’re not able to go to bed at your regular bed time, try to stick the same length of time you sleep during the week.
- Exercise Regularly – 20-30min of exercise 3-5 weekly will improve your quality of sleep. An evening stroll is a great way to help you unwind from your day. Read the article below to learn more about how exercise affects your sleep patterns:
4. Get some sunlight – Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle and is controlled by light exposure. Take advantage of the sun and take a walk daily, even if you only have 15min. If you’re going to spend more than 15min in the sun, apply some sunscreen before you go out :).
5. Pick the right mattress and pillow – Make sure you have a mattress that supports your body’s needs. If you’re having a hard time getting comfortable, you might want to look into getting a new mattress. Here’s a great article that can help you figure out if you have the right mattress:
6. Room temperature – It can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep if your room is too cold or too hot. Most people sleep best in a room that is 65* F. Figure out what temperature is most comfortable for you.
The resources below will give you more information about how to get a good night’s sleep:
Have a great day!!
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Meredith and Brian