One important factor that is often overlooked in weight loss is sleep! Eating healthy foods and exercising consistently are important elements when it comes to losing weight and improving your health. But don’t overlook the impact of making small changes in other areas of your life as well.
All the other changes you make will have little impact on your weight if you’re not getting enough sleep. Countless studies show that lack of sleep can negate your weight-loss efforts by as much as 55 percent — since sleep is when your body repairs itself and regulates hormones that control your appetite. Many times, you can make just a few simple lifestyle changes to ensure you’re getting the amount of quality sleep you need on a nightly basis.
Here are seven healthy things to do before bed to experience a great night’s sleep and get closer to your weight-loss goals.
1. Surround yourself with blue
The color blue promotes relaxation, while warm colors such as red, yellow, and orange can subconsciously make you feel hungry and more energized. Studies show that those who sleep in bedrooms outfitted in the color blue typically get more sleep than those surrounded by other colors. Consider updating the color scheme in your bedroom to blue, or to colors that offer similar relaxation effects including silver and moss green.
2. Wind down with tea
Drink a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea before going to bed, since herbs like chamomile, peppermint, and valerian naturally promote sleep and relaxation. Better yet, opt for rooibos tea, which contains a potent flavonoid called aspalathin that reduces stress hormones and helps you lose belly fat.
3. Avoid smartphones, tablets, TVs, and computers
Electronic devices such as these emit blue light, which is proven to interfere with your natural sleep cycle and body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin increases the presence of certain types of fat that help your body burn energy and lose weight. Instead of reading e-books or playing games on your device late into the night while lying in bed, try reading a print book or listening to soothing, relaxing music.
4. Snack on protein
Stop late-night snacking on sugary, refined carbs like cereal, dessert, and crackers, and replace these items with foods high in protein. Protein boosts your metabolism and increases your metabolic resting rate so your body burns fat even when sleeping or sitting down. Protein shakes, Greek yogurt, and peanut butter with a banana or apple are ideal before-bedtime snacks high in protein.
5. Keep a sleep journal
A sleep journal helps you identify factors that may be interfering with sleep patterns and affecting weight loss. Log the amount of time you’re sleeping every day, including naps, and jot down factors that may be influencing sleep — such as the number of cups of coffee you drank, and whether you worked out that day. Then, review your journal and make lifestyle adjustments as needed to get more sleep.
6. Write down your next day to-dos
Many people make a mental list of things they must do the next day as they’re lying in bed, which can trigger feelings of anxiety and stress and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Try making a list of to-dos before going to bed every night so you don’t have to worry about remembering everything while you’re trying to relax.
7. Do a brief strength-training routine
Doing resistance training or body-weight exercises before bedtime has been shown to optimize weight loss during sleep. Those who do strength-training exercises before going to sleep can benefit from a higher resting metabolic rate for 16 hours or more following their workout — which is why exercising before bedtime can lead to weight loss.
Need help reaching your health and weight-loss goals? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offer personalized weight-loss plans customized for your goals and lifestyle. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on September 15, 2017