If you’re not losing weight (despite a consistent workout routine), poor quality sleep could be the culprit. This article will address the weight gain/insufficient sleep connection, and some steps you can take today to reverse it.
The Sleep Deprivation Cycle
If you feel wiped out on a regular basis, your body’s ability to lose weight is actually shutting off at a rapid rate. In fact, a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a week of insufficient sleep can cause a heightened ghrelin level (signaling that you’re hungry more often) – causing you to eat an extra 300 calories than usual.
Tips to Get a High-Quality Sleep (and Lose Those Jiggly Thighs!)
Even if you regularly hit the pillow at a decent hour each night and sleep for 7 hours, it doesn’t mean your quality of sleep is up to par. For example, if you wake up frequently through the night, or have trouble falling into a deep slumber, you may not be getting the rest you need on the regular—which will cause you to have impulsive cravings and an out-of-whack diet. Here are some easy to hack tips to improve your sleep quality, and this, begin transforming your body:
• Set the stage. Getting a great night’s sleep is about setting up the proper environment. In order to fall asleep, and stay asleep throughout the night, it’s important to relax your mind before you hit the pillow. Come up with two relaxing activities an hour before you intend on turning off the lights to relax your body. This can include having a cup of herbal tea, taking a bath or shower, or listening to soothing music. Limit your TV watching to two hours a night, and turn off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime.
• Adjust your sleep times. Your body can actually direct you as to when bedtime is—but if you’ve been used to staying up late binging on your favorite Netflix show, your body may be significantly out of whack. Experiment with different bedtimes and see what sleep schedule works best for you. For example, try going to bed at 10pm, in order to wake up at 6am. If you need more time in the morning to get ready for the day ahead, try going to bed at 9pm, in order to wake up by 5am or 5:30am.
• Adjust your dinner diet. The food you eat in the evening can affect your sleep. For example, if you’re used to a carb heavy dinner followed by desert, the pasta and sugar you’re digesting could prevent you from sleeping soundly. Try a low-fat, protein-rich dinner instead, followed by a bowl of cherries for dessert (cherries have been shown to be a natural sleep aid!)
Sleep is truly the foundation for solid physical and emotional health. Whether you want to lose weight, boost your energy, feel happier or even improve your digestion, make catching your ‘Z’s’ your first priority. Improved health will soon follow.