There’s no question that sleep is important to your overall health and happiness. Yet, more than a third of Americans are not getting enough of it. To make matters worse, there’s growing evidence that a lack of quality sleep can have adverse effects on your weight, too.
While researchers are still studying the issue, it looks like sleep deprivation leads to both an increased energy input (eating more and/or higher calorie foods) and a decreased energy output (less physical activity). That’s a recipe for weight gain.
So, what can you do to get a better night’s sleep? We’ve put together eight quick tips to help you gain more Z’s for better health and weight loss success:
Set (or reset) Your Sleep Schedule: Start with your wake-up time, and work backwards to figure out your ideal bedtime. But don’t forget to add a little extra time to actually fall asleep.
Turn Off The Screens: Whether it’s your TV, your tablet, or your phone, set a time that you’ll turn it/them off for the night. This will reduce stimulation and allow your brain to relax a bit before you shut your eyes.
Stick To Your Sleep Schedule: Your body follows a rhythm. Keep it steady by staying on schedule.
Supplement Your Nightly Sleep: If you can sleep longer on the weekends or off-days, go for it! Recent research suggests that this type of catch-up sleep may do a lot of good. But…
Take a Nap, But Be Careful: Generally speaking, short naps (15 – 45 minutes) are beneficial. But do be mindful of when you nap, and for how long. You don’t want it to impact your sleep at night, when your body naturally wants to rest.
Watch What You Drink, And When: Avoid caffeine in the afternoon to ensure that it’s out of your system by bedtime. Also, avoid alcohol before bed. It might make you feel sleepy initially, but it can interfere with sleep.
Exercise: It’s no secret, but getting enough physical activity during your day will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
Try Meditation or Relaxation Exercises: It’s hard to go to sleep when your mind is racing. So quiet it by practicing meditation or relaxation techniques before.
Remember, getting more sleep doesn’t mean you’re overindulging yourself. It means you’re taking better care of yourself. Better sleep contributes significantly to better overall health. So, if you’re struggling to get enough quality sleep, give these tips a try.