Do you feel like you are on a mission to lose weight but simply aren’t seeing the results? If you feel that you are successfully implementing a solid exercise routine coupled with a healthy diet and still aren’t seeing a change, maybe you are falling short in areas that you didn’t even realize were affecting your weight. For example, have you taken into consideration your sleep routine? Further, if your typical bedtime habits include any of the following, you may need to reconsider these unhealthy tendencies (and start implementing bedtime habits that can help you lose weight)….
- Eating late dinners
- Snacking on junk food or binging on ice cream before bed (I am way too familiar with this and trust me, the struggle is real!)
- Drinking caffeine in the evenings
- Falling asleep with the television or lights on
If any of the above sound familiar, you may want to consider changing up these various and seemingly random habits. By being mindful of the habits you are doing prior to bedtime and shifting your focus to getting a good night’s sleep, you may begin to see a difference.
Are you doing the most obvious things correctly in an effort to lose weight (such as regular workouts and maintaining a healthy diet), but still feel like you aren’t seeing a positive outcome? Perhaps you need to look at the smaller things you hadn’t considered that might be having a negative impact on results. Maybe these particular things never even crossed your mind as being related to weight gain or loss; except for the ice cream indulgence… you were pretty sure wasn’t going to help you in the losing weight department! But it was so worth it! Let’s dive in and break down how important it is to get a good night of sleep and in return, increasing your chance of losing weight for good. We will also take a look at changing just a few items leading up to your bedtime that will further aid in weight loss.
The aforementioned habits are a few areas that may be contributing to weight gain. Not to worry; these insider secrets on how to make small alterations to your evening pattern will give you weight loss results that you didn’t think were possible. The best part? There is a lot that is happening while you are asleep. If you can be disciplined enough to make a few habit changes, you’ll be well on your way to getting healthier and losing weight while you are snoring the night away!
It is important to note up front that if you want to lose weight, without a caloric deficit, you will never lose fat. Therefore, your metabolism needs to burn more calories than you consume every day. There are plenty of things that can help you in this area, such as eating specific food and small frequent meals throughout the day, having a disciplined exercise routine, etc. We will save that for another discussion. Let’s start with making some simple changes to our nightly routine and go from there!
5 Bedtime Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight
Get a good night of sleep
Leading off with the biggie! It is no secret that there is substantial science linking sleep and weight loss and that sleep patterns specifically impact weight. On average, the less people sleep, the more they weigh and the more likely they are to gain. University of Michigan researcher Michael Sivak found that replacing one hour of inactive wakefulness—such as watching television—with sleep can result in a 6 percent reduction in caloric intake.
Reasons for this are mostly biological and include:
– Insufficient sleep affecting the hunger hormones, ghrelin (which is produced in larger doses with less sleep and signals appetite and the need to eat) and leptin (which drops as you get less sleep and cues the brain to stop eating).
– Sleep impacts metabolism, plain and simple. Harvard Women’s Health Watch found that chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by changing the way the body processes and stores carbohydrates and altars hormone levels. Studies have shown that fat cells need sleep to function properly. Another study from the University of Chicago discovered that not getting enough sleep reduced one’s ability to respond to insulin (a hormone that regulates metabolism and energy).
While these are two very significant reasons as to how sleep impacts weight loss, we are barely scratching the surface as just how important sleep is in connection to staying healthy and keeping fit.
Sleep in Complete Darkness
Piggybacking off of the above importance of sleep, no food or supplement can simulate the far-reaching health benefits of a good night of sleep. That being said, certain supplements support lifestyle changes and promote more consistent sleep throughout the night. One such supplement is melatonin, a natural hormone.
Melatonin helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle. At night, the brain produces melatonin to help trigger sleep. The production of melatonin varies in part to light exposure. Your body creates more melatonin when it is in total darkness. Studies have shown that women who sleep in dark rooms are less likely to be overweight when compared to those who sleep in rooms with the lights on.
Some things you can try in order to achieve more darkness are making sure to turn off the tv or nearby electronics, ditch the night light, or getting some dark colored or blackout curtains to put over the windows. You can also use a sleep mask, which will also help to block out as much light as possible.
Furthermore, scientific analysis shows promising treatment results for melatonin in a variety of sleep disorders. Taking a melatonin supplement is also an option. For most, melatonin supplements are safe in low doses for both short-term and long-term use. As with any supplement suggestion, we are not doctors so we recommend you consult with your doctor before start on anything new.
Be Mindful of What you Eat for Dinner
While there is a common misconception that eating right before bed will lead to weight gain, it is rather what you eat before bed that will have a negative impact. Because dinner is typically a substantial meal, it also means it tends to be heavier, higher in calories or larger portions consumed. Going to bed immediately after a big meal can interrupt sleep as well. This is because it can lead to bloating which can keep you from falling asleep or it can cause digestive upsets that might wake you up later during the night. Also consider what you are eating since spicy and fatty foods can trigger heartburn, another sleep disrupter. Give yourself some time to digest your meal. Always look out for low-calorie foods that are high in protein like fish, turkey or chicken. These are the type of foods you should be eating instead of fast foods.
Limit your Evening Snacking
While we said above that you shouldn’t eat a large dinner right before going to bed, you also do not want to starve yourself before bedtime. For example, if you tend to stay up late and end up going to bed five hours after dinner, you may want to have a small healthy snack between dinner and before bed. This will tide you over until morning and prevent hunger pangs in the middle of the night. Your snack should be small, no more than 150 to 200 calories. It is important to note that certain foods can heighten relaxation so try to go for this kind of snack. Foods that promote relaxation contain carbohydrates and protein, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Some foods naturally contain tryptophan, such as dairy, which can also help.
Nutritious snack examples include:
- Tablespoon Of Almond Butter On A Slice Of Whole Wheat Toast
- Piece Of Fruit + Tablespoon Of Peanut Butter
- Half-Cup Of Rice
- Half Ounce Of Nuts + 1/4 Cup Of Dried Fruit
- Half Cup Of Cereal With Milk
- A Few Whole Grain Crackers With Cheese
Drink Warm Milk or Tea Before You Go to Sleep and Avoid Caffeine
Researchers from the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State College of Medicine performed a stufy to analyze how caffeine disrupts sleep when consumed at different points in time during the day. Even caffeine consumed 6 hours before going to bed affected sleep amounts by over an hour. Therefore, research suggests limiting caffeine to the morning and early afternoon hours at the latest. In the evening, you should avoid foods that you may not be aware of containing caffeine, such as chocolate and even some decaffeinated teas (which can still affect those who are sensitive to caffeine).
Drinking Milk is also great in its ability to aid in weight loss while you sleep. The reasoning behind this is threefold.
- Milk contains a type of protein called casein which helps to build and sustain lean muscle.
- Milk will help to boost your metabolism which means you will end up burning more calories every single day without changing up any other aspects of your life.
- Drinking milk before bedtime will help to keep you full until it’s time for breakfast in the morning.
We have given you some of the best bedtime habits to help you lose weight, now it is up to you to take action and start seeing results for yourself. If you implement these tips you will be on your way toward achieving the ideal body weight you’ve always wanted. Do not get frustrated if you aren’t seeing results right away! Enjoy the ride and don’t be so hard on yourself! Now, get snoozin’!
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