Having a great nighttime routine can help you sleep better, maximize your fitness results, and even improve your work, schooling, and social life. Yes, you really could sleep your way skinny!
It sounds like a scam late-night infomercial, but this report by the National Sleep Foundation shows that it may be true. In the 16-year long study, people who slept for 5 or fewer hours a night were at a 30% greater risk to gain weight than those who snooze for 7 hours!
Science of Sleep
There’s lots of science involved in this finding, but mostly it has to do with hormones. When you are low on sleep or restless, your body produces ghrelin, which increases hunger and cravings. At the same time, the body reduces leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full and satisfied. The result?
You’ll be hungry and craving usually high-fat, high-calorie foods while your body’s metabolism actually slows down. That’s a recipe for disaster for your health goals.
And that weight gain forms a vicious cycle: overweight individuals are at a greater risk for sleep problems like sleep apnea, and generally have lower quality sleep than others, so the hormone problems just get worse!
Simply by getting enough sleep, anywhere from 7 to 9 hours each night, your body and metabolism can regulate itself more efficiently. You’ll maximize your fitness results since your body repairs muscle during rest. Because you’ll have more energy and motivation to exercise, you can achieve your ideal goals!
Sleeping for Success Tips
Stick to A Schedule: Your body is built on patterns of activity called a circadian rhythm. By establishing a schedule of waking up and going to bed at the same time every day (yes, even on the weekend) your circadian rhythm will be consistent. That means healthier sleep and metabolism for your fit lifestyle!
Set the Stage: The primary purpose of your bedroom is for sleeping, right? Is it actually set up to do that? Your bedroom should be kept cool, between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit,for a great sleep. You can set the stage for sleep even further by removing or blocking lights and sounds, and using calming colors like blue, green or grey in the space.
Cut the Cord: Sleep researchers believe that the blue light from electronic devices like smartphones, TV, and tablets mimics daylight, keeping the brain stimulated and awake. By avoiding screen time for 30 minutes before bedtime and reading a physical book instead, you’ll feel much more relaxed and ready for sleep when you turn out the lights.
Eat This, Not That: Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, heavy meals, and spicy foods can all disrupt your nightly routine in different ways. Eating large meals before bed can lead to discomfort and the body storing those calories as fat. Swap out midnight munchies for apples and almond butter 45 minutes before bedtime. Delicious, lean, and no weird dreams!
Get Your Beauty Rest: Skin cells are most active at night, so showing your skin some TLC before bed can give you a smoother, clearer complexion over time. Showering, cleansing the face, and using a quality night cream all can help with this.
Stress Less & Wind Down: Stress disrupts your sleep patterns by creating a state of hyperarousal. This means your blood pressure, breathing rate, and alertness go through the roof.
One way to beat stress is to create a relaxing bedtime routine. Us humans are creatures of habit. The body needs routine, and the mind will always try to create patterns. Creating a routine that you do each night helps your mind tell your body “hey, it’s bedtime!”