On days that you’re feeling extra sleepy, you may tend to consume an extra cup or two of soda or coffee, and may even grab a few extra snacks just to keep yourself awake throughout the day.
You may also feel too tired to exercise, and end up skipping your workout. When you’re finally getting ready for bed, you feel a burst of energy you could have needed earlier in the day, and before you know it, you’re lying wide awake during the hours you’re supposed to be sleeping. Patterns and habits such as these can really disrupt your sleep cycle, and also disrupt your weight-loss efforts.
Studies have shown that if you fail to get the amount of sleep your body needs, your metabolism will fail to function properly throughout the day. Additionally, lack of sleep can affect our body’s levels of ghrelin and leptin, which are the hormones that regulate your appetite.
When your body lacks sleep, your ghrelin levels will increase, and signal to your brain that you’re feeling hungry, even when you’re not. On the other hand, leptin levels will decrease, and inform your brain that you need to keep eating even when you’re truly full, which can result in overeating and weight gain.
Considering the link between a good night’s sleep and weight loss, it’s important to make sure that you follow a series of healthy habits that will ensure you experience a good night of quality sleep every night.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day to develop a healthy sleep schedule and routine.
- Avoid caffeine intake at least six hours before bedtime. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to between six and seven hours following intake, so stay away from coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate as nighttime approaches.
- Exercise on a daily basis, preferably in the morning or afternoon. Daily exercise will help you sleep better at night — just make sure you’re not exercising within two hours of going to bed to avoid feeling a burst in energy right before bedtime.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Buy dark curtains to keep out unwanted morning sunlight, and invest in a comfortable mattress and bedding if needed. Also, use a white noise machine if distracting sounds from outside tend to wake you up.
- Stop looking at screens for at least an hour before bedtime. The screens from television, tablets, computers, and your phone can be stimulating and will prevent you from going to sleep right away.
- Establish a relaxing pre-sleep ritual to help you wind down. Try reading a book, taking a warm bath, or listening to soft, easy-listening music to help your mind and body relax and prepare for sleep.