Healthy Lifestyle

Sleep Important to Weight Loss

An hour lost…

Last weekend, Daylight Savings Time forced us to spring ahead – losing an hour of sleep. This week, I think it’s safe to say many of us are feeling a bit groggy. 

The good news is, thanks to Daylight Savings Time we have more hours of daylight in the evening to be outside enjoying the warmer “soon-to-be” spring weather and sunshine. The bad news is that we need to work on our sleep habits, especially if we are working on losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. 

Good sleep effects wellness

When you are dedicated to losing weight, getting fit, and meeting your health and wellness goals, we can’t forget or discount the importance of quality sleep. It plays a key role in the choices we make throughout the day that affect our body fat. 

When you sleep more, you actually will eat less and make better choices. Quality sleep supports the balance of hormone levels, directly affecting our food choices and activity through the day. When we don’t feel rested or get enough sleep, we try to compensate by eating too much. 

Sleep is the best way to recharge our human battery, and is essential for metabolism, muscle recovery and mental alertness throughout the day. When we sleep our bodies repair muscle tissues and replace aging cells. Hormones released during sleep helps your cells fight off infection and illness, so you will have a healthier overall well-being when you have good sleep. 

Depriving your body of sleep actually puts your body at higher risk of illness and definitely more at risk of making poor decisions about your nutrition and can make you miss out on exercise. 

Getting a good night’s sleep

The following suggestions can help you get the Z’s you need:

  1. Don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime. Avoid high fat foods as the digestion may take longer and interfere with your sleep.
  2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to sleep. Caffeine will cause wakefulness and hyperactivity and alcohol disrupts sleep by interfering with proper stages of sleep.
  3. Unplug from electronics. The light from electronics such as smart phones and television screens increase alertness and affect our sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
  4. Make evenings relaxed and try to decrease stress before going to bed. Reflect with gratitude before bed and make a list of things you are grateful for before bed for fewer worried thoughts at bedtime and a more restful sleep. Read for 20-30 minutes before bed to clear your mind of worries.
  5. Increase activity during the day to tire you out. The more you move during the day will help sleep will come faster at night. Avoid late night exercise sessions as that will increase your wakefulness. 
  6. Correct sleeping environment is important to encourage sleep. Make sure the room is dark and reasonably cool for the best sleep.

Fatigue and a lack of quality sleep can lead to obesity and many other several other health issues. Balance your sleep with good nutrition and an active lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight and make the most of each day. 

For more tips on better sleep, talk with your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider.