I know you’ve heard about the importance of sleep plenty of times. You know you’re more productive, feel better, and definitely have more energy when you’re sleeping well. Did you know that you’re also more likely to be a healthy weight if you get enough sleep? And that not getting enough sleep makes it really difficult to lose weight? It’s true!
According to a study by the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who were overweight slept for 16 fewer minutes each night than those at a normal weight. Yes, 16 minutes makes a difference. Another study conducted by Dr. Sanjay Patel found that women who slept for 5 hours or less each night were almost 33% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than women who got at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our hormones get out of whack and make us crave more calories—and not just any calories. We tend to crave fatty, high-carb foods like pizza and fries, not spinach and apples. We’re also less likely to exercise, because we’re justifiably exhausted.
If you’re not clocking 7 to 9 hours each night, try these tips:
- Turn off all your electronics, including your phone, TV, and computer, at least an hour before bedtime. Spend that hour reading, meditating, or being grateful for all the good things in your life.
- Don’t eat anything heavy at least three hours before bedtime. You might think you sleep better on a full stomach, but your body can’t fully rest when it’s trying to digest food.
- Don’t have anything to drink, other than a little water, within two hours of going to bed. If you’ve been drinking alcohol, you’ll fall asleep quickly, but as soon as the alcohol is through your system you’ll wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep. And no one likes being woken up at 3 a.m. by a full bladder!
- Make your room as dark as possible. You’ve probably already heard this one, but it makes a big difference. Get some blackout curtains (they’re cheap on Amazon) and cover any light coming from your clock or other gadgets.
- And speaking of gadgets, turn them off! Beeps and rings will certainly wake you up.
- Kids or babies keeping you up at night? Assuming they’re not your neighbor’s kids, check out tips from The Sleep Lady (http://www.sleeplady.com/). I don’t have kids myself, but I’ve heard she has some cool tricks up her sleeve.
- Keep yourself on a schedule. I know it’s tempting to stay up later and sleep in later on weekends, but it’s much harder to sleep well during the week when you throw your schedule out the window on weekends. Friday and Saturday nights are more than 25% of your total nights, so they count!
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