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.
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:
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.
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.
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!