Sleep hygiene: Better sleep means a better body Posted on June 13, 2016 by , 0 comments

 

Sleep: you need it for weight loss. We’ve all read the myriad of articles out there insisting that more sleep will do just about anything to support and improve our health. It’s good for our skin, mental health, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, memory, joint health, heart health—pretty much all of it. And it’s all true. Sleep is the foundation upon which any successful weight management program is built. When you think of it from a behavioral aspect, it makes sense. When you’re tired, you are far less likely to exercise, prepare or choose healthy foods, drink water, and function at your best.

Lack of sleep will also: 

  • Reduce impulse control
  • Fuel a tendency to consume junk food and too much caffeine
  • Lead to energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods
  • Increase late-night snacking
  • Impact the hormones related to feeling full and satisfied
  • Increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which tells your body to hang onto fat
  • Mess with insulin production which impacts metabolism

But sleep doesn’t always come easy. Humans are rock stars when it comes to coming up with reasons to stay up late or forego sleep altogether. But we’re only setting ourselves up for failure when the morning comes. Instead, get great sleep (and a great life) by evaluating and changing your sleep hygiene habits.

What does it mean to have ‘good sleep hygiene’?

Good sleep hygiene basically means making choices throughout the day as well as just before bedtime to ensure a good nights rest.

  • No screens at least one hour before bed is the rule. The backlighting on screens messes with the brain and reduces the hormones you need to in order to fall and stay asleep.
  • The bedroom is for sleep and sex. That’s it. Remove your desk, your television, and any hobbies or crafts. And while we’re at it, kick the dog and/or cat off the bed too. They’re movement throughout the night can cause impact your sleep by interfering with your body’s ability to get to and stay in a restorative sleep pattern.
  • Relaxation before bed is key. Take a bath, read a book, enjoy a cup of herbal tea, meditate—whatever it is that can get your mind off of the stressors of daily life.
  • Avoid heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime. Heavy meals can make us feel uncomfortable, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s sleep cycle and can make it harder to have good sleep and a great morning.
  • Complete darkness helps the brain produce the hormone melatonin, which supports sleep. Black out curtains or an eye mask can help keep out the light.
  • Sound plays a pretty big role in sleep as well. Some people need complete silence in order to get great sleep. For those people, earplugs are a great option. Others prefer the sounds of rain, waves, or win to help them relax before bed and stay asleep throughout the night.
  • The bed and pillow are important too. If you find that you’re tossing and turning because of neck or back problems, consider buying a new mattress or pillow.
  • Routine! Once you have established a routine that works for you, stick to it. And if you can, do so at the same times every day. By going to bed and waking at the same time every day you will be able to train your brain to stick to sleep a schedule.

Do you have a bedtime ritual that works best for you? Tell us in the comments below!

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