Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the easiest ways to lose weight and, impressively, it’s said to be one of the most effective.
Here are the top three tips to catching some z’s.
Change up your exercise pattern
Physical activity simulates stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which remain elevated for several hours even after exercise. Having elevated stress hormones during the evening can prevent you from falling sleep and even disrupt sleeping patterns. Consider bringing up your evening workout sessions to the mornings or even during your lunch breaks.
Alternative activities that will relax your mind and body in the evenings include foam rolling or trigger point therapy (self-massage), taking a bath with Epsom salts, yoga with lit candles or taking a walk nearby the nearest body of water.
Get to bed early!
The circadian rhythm (your body clock) is a natural, internal system designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. It is controlled by the brain, which responds to light. This is why humans are most alert during daylight and ready to sleep when it is dark. During this sleep/wake cycle there is a certain time frame for mental and physical repair.
The physical repair cycle occurs between 10pm and 2am - any time after 2am is geared towards mental repair. Sleeping during these vital hours of physical repair is very important as it restores and support muscle growth, helping you maintain a healthy metabolism.
If you find it hard to fall asleep, try reducing your exposure to all electrical devices - TVs, laptops, mobile phones, even fluorescent lighting – and turn them off at least two hours before bedtime. They can all trick your brain into thinking its daytime and prevent you from switching off.
Have a bedtime snack
We have always been told that its bad to eat before bedtime. Part of this is true but it depends on what you eat. Heavy proteins such as red meat, chicken and fish are not ideal as they take a very long while to be digested.
There are actually health benefits to having a balanced snack before bed rather than sleeping on an empty stomach. The body still requires fuel even while you are asleep and when there is no food in your system, stress hormones are triggered. This disturbs your sleeping pattern and causes emergency hormones, such as cortisol, to break down your muscle tissue for the fuel that is needed.
Stress hormones can also affect insulin sensitivity and lead to an increase of fat storage around the middle.
Amino acids found in protein are needed to build and repair muscle tissue throughout the night, therefore, consider having a balanced snack 30 minutes prior to bedtime consisting of lighter proteins such as diary, which are easier to digest, combined with a carbohydrate such as fruit or honey.
Good bedtime snacks include: one cup of milk with a teaspoon of honey, three tablespoons of cottage cheese and a hand full of strawberries or three tablespoons of plain yogurt with teaspoon of honey.SHOW MORE