The best part of the day is often when we change into our pajamas, relax, unwind, and fall asleep. Sleep is extremely important in our mental and physical health. In fact, sleep can help us lose weight. Aiming for 7-9 hours is ideal for our health and mental clarity.
When it comes to losing weight, sleep can indirectly and directly affect us. When we don’t get enough sleep we are often moody and cranky. We can become impulsive and it becomes more difficult to control our behavior. Therefore, we might choose a food or activity that isn’t healthy for us. Sleep also helps regulate hormones that control hunger. Cortisol levels remain high which can inhibit weight loss and disrupt our sleep patterns further. When we don’t get enough sleep, these hormones cause us to crave more carbohydrate-rich foods. Our minds think that we are in danger and need more calories to deal with that threat.
How can we improve our sleep? Waking up at the same time or within 30 minutes of that time every day can help to create a habit. Also going to bed with the lights out at the same time each night can help that habit. So in summary, have a bedtime! Here are some more tips to help get better quality sleep:
- Prioritize relaxing, stress-free evening activities that help wind you down to rest.
- Avoid stimulating evening activities until you get into a sleep rhythm.
- Avoid electronics and blue spectrum light exposure one hour before bed.
- Reduce or, ideally, eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
- Aim to finish dinner two to three hours before you get into bed.