Sleep More, Weigh Less: the link Between Sleep and Weight Loss
Sleep and weight loss: 12 Sleep Secrets That Can Help You Lose Weight continued...
Improve your sleep environment. It's not just the quantity of sleep
that counts; it's also the quality, says Lombardo, so make your sleep
environment a sanctuary. Block light with thick curtains or blackout shades,
and muffle noise with ear plugs or a white noise machine. If seeing your alarm
clock makes you stressed, turn it around or cover it up before you go to bed.
If you're often awakened by late night phone calls, turn off your ringer or
disconnect the phone.
Reserve the bedroom for bedtime. The demands of modern life
make it easy -- even essential -- to multitask, with the result that many
people do everything in bed except sleep. Resist the temptation to
bring your laptop or cell phone into bed to check the internet or send text
messages. Reserving your bedroom for sleep and sex will help your body
associate the room with relaxation and release, as opposed to work or
entertainment, Epstein tells WebMD.
Nurture close connections. Lonely days may lead to restless nights,
University of Chicago researchers report. In a study of 89 students and 25
older adults, researchers found that, although lonely and non-lonely subjects
spent about the same amount of time in bed, those who reported being lonely
slept 5.8 hours on average, while non-lonely subjects slept 6.4 hours. A more
recent study by the same authors found that lonely people slept less
efficiently and spent more time lying awake in bed. If you are lonely, take
steps to establish closer ties with family members, engage in activities that
help you make new friends, or consider getting a pet.
Nix the nightcap. Alcohol is the No. 1 aid people use to help them
fall asleep, Lombardo tells WebMD. And it works -- but only for half the night.
As your body metabolizes the alcohol (at a rate of half a pint of beer or a
glass of wine per hour), its sleep-inducing powers wear off. At that point,
you'll be awakened -- often with a full bladder. Drinking too close to bedtime
can also make sleep problems (like sleep apnea, snoring, and insomnia) and
stomach problems (like acid reflux and GERD) worse, he says. And it won't help
your weight loss efforts to consume extra calories right before going to
Get moving. Exercising for weight loss can have a double benefit --
it may help you sleep better too. In a Duke University study, researchers found
that physically fit older men fell asleep in less than half the time it took
sedentary men. They also woke up less often during the night and slept more
efficiently -- that is, they spent more of their snooze time in deep,
restorative sleep. One caveat: Exercising too close to bedtime can make it hard
for you to nod off because it's a stimulating activity, Epstein says.