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How Healthy Sleep Habits Shed Your Extra Pounds

How Healthy Sleep Habits Shed Your Extra Pounds

Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to weight loss, yet it’s also the one ignored by most people even its importance is well recognized. Sleep is pushed to the wayside mainly due to busy schedules, demanding jobs, and family or social activities.

And honestly, it’s easy to understand why. We tend to consider sleep unproductive because we aren’t checking off things on our ever-growing, never-ending to-do lists while we are sleeping. We strive for relentless achievement and are always on the go, but as a result, our sleep schedules are taking a hit and hurting our health.

The Importance of Sleep and Weight Loss

Did you know that when we sleep, our organs actually reset themselves overnight? Our hormones cannot function as they are meant to without adequate rest. Since hormones regulate every single aspect in the body, especially weight gain, it is absolutely crucial we get enough rest.

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In fact, not sleeping enough can cause your cortisol levels to stay elevated and end up making you store excess fat even if you are exercising and cutting calories (which also both cause elevated cortisol levels on their own). In order to lose weight, we must eat a well-balanced diet, get enough rest, drink enough water, and get a minimum of 7-8 hours sleep. Some people who suffer from nutritional deficiencies may need even longer hours of rest, up to 9 or even 10 hours of sleep each night.

If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

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Tips for Better Sleep

  • If you have trouble sleeping, try taking a hot bath or shower before bed, have some chamomile and valerian tea which will help you relax, and attempt to read at least 30 minutes before bed instead of watching television or sitting in front of your laptop.
  • Make sure that your room is cool, and sleep with a fan if you need to since a cooler body temperature lowers cortisol levels and can help you go to sleep more easily.
  • Finally, if you need to supplement with an over-the-counter sleep aid, melatonin is a safe option to use in temporary dosage spans since it can reset your body’s natural circadian rhythms. However, before you resort to supplements, try to relax and go to sleep on your own.

What to Eat Before Bed for Healthy Sleep Levels and Weight Loss

When it comes to food and sleep, try to avoid eating extremely high-fat or spicy foods before bed since they can upset digestion and interfere with falling asleep. It’s helpful at night to consume some easy-to-digest complex carbs such as wild rice, oatmeal, brown rice, or cooked sweet potatoes along with some lean protein for amino acids which also help you relax and burn fat.

Enjoy a little healthy fat, around a tablespoon or two, so that your body can absorb nutrients from your meal. Fats also aid in satiety and calm the mind, but again, keep the dose low.

Complex carbs and amino acids do not only help you fall asleep more quickly, but they also replenish glycogen in the muscles and help your body gain lean muscle mass while burning calories. Just be careful to ensure you get enough vegetables and lower carb sources of produce into your meal, such as green and yellow vegetables.

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In general, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of complex carbs you eat to 1/2 cup so you don’t spike your blood sugar levels and to ensure that you don’t fill up on carbs alone. Eating carbs at night doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight. Moderation is the key here.

Fresh fruit at night can also be helpful if you crave something sweet since it is rich in fiber and water to keep you hydrated, but choose something low in sugar like berries, frozen pineapple, and a green apple,which all have under 15 grams per one-cup serving.

Here are some ideas for bedtime snacks if you need additional ideas.

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Getting enough rest will change your weight without you having to do anything else, so make a goal to get more sleep if you are struggling with your weight, and remember to take things one day at a time!

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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