Losing weight can be tricky. Despite following a strict exercise routine and avoiding fatty foods, a few factors can influence weight loss—or lack thereof. A few reasons you’re not losing weight may include consuming too many calories, a lack of cardio exercise, and probably the least-expected reason: poor sleep.
Yes, sleep affects weight loss! Adults who get poor sleep have a 55% greater risk of developing obesity. This is why the very best weight loss plans include sleep as a crucial factor for success. With good sleep hygiene, you’re less hungry during the day, and you consume fewer calories as a result. Below are a few ways you can maximize this simple trick for weight loss:
Don’t go straight to bed after eating
Going to bed with a full stomach is bad practice because it gives you trouble falling asleep. Eating also cues the release of insulin, the hormone responsible for using food for energy. This affects your sleep by signaling your body that it’s time to use this energy by keeping you awake. Given this, eating before bed should be limited. Let at least 3 hours pass after eating before sleeping. This gives your stomach time to move food into the small intestine before you go to bed.
Practice mindful eating for better sleep
Exercising is a major component of any weight loss plan, but there’s another thing you can do to help triple weight loss: eating mindfully. Slow down and focus on your food. Chew slowly, appreciate the flavors you taste, and eat meals on time. This practice also involves being mindful of the foods you put in your body. Certain foods promote good sleep, such as kiwi, nuts, and rice. Kiwi has antioxidant properties that help serotonin concentration for sleep, while nuts contain magnesium and zinc that aid insomnia. Finally, rice has a high glycemic index that can help people fall asleep faster.
Get enough hours of sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is not only beneficial for rest but also important for losing weight. A study found that shorter sleep results in high ghrelin and lower leptin levels. This hormone combination increases your appetite, making you more likely to overeat. Reduced sleep also impacts food selection. People who are sleep-deprived tend to reach for foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar, affecting their weight. This is why it’s vital that you get 8 hours of sleep or more each night. Don’t watch TV in the bedroom and avoid using your phone before bed. The blue light from these devices can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder for you to get some shut-eye.
Limit the light in your bedroom
Aside from limiting your exposure to blue light, you should also try limiting the amount of regular light in your bedroom. Your body can take the presence of natural and electric light as a sign that it is still daytime, preventing you from falling asleep. In turn, this can affect the total hours of sleep you get, as well as your weight loss journey. If possible, keep your room very dark at bedtime. If you’re concerned about standing up in case of an emergency, have a night light or lamp as far away from your bed as possible.
Sleep is one thing that people forget to focus on when losing weight. These tips should help you maximize sleep as one of the simplest tips for weight loss.