Is this the #1 secret to healthy weight loss?
The lazy days of summer are just around the corner.
And if you’re among the half of all Americans who want to lose weight, you may be happy to know the key to shedding pounds may be in your sleep.
Catching an extra hour of ZZZs every night can give your brain the power it needs to balance appetite-controlling hormones and make wise decisions that will help you get beach-ready for summer.
“Almost a third of Americans are not getting enough sleep, so it makes sense that 160 million Americans are overweight or obese,” says Dr. Olusegun Apata, a pulmonologist, critical care physician and sleep specialist with Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “Being short on sleep makes people fat.”
“Most people need between seven and nine hours of good-quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. When you are properly rested, your body will make enough of the hormone, leptin, which signals your brain to stop eating when you’re full. Your body will also produce less of the hormone, ghrelin, which tells the brain you’re hungry, when you get enough sleep. Ghrelin is often to blame for junk food cravings late at night and when you tired,” says Dr. Apata.
“This time of year, it’s easy to feel more motivated and try to squeeze more activities into the longer daylight hours. But it’s critical that we schedule enough time for sleep – our overall health and waistlines depend on it,” says Dr. Apata.
Dr. Apata suggests adding “sleep time” to your calendar and then following these sleep hygiene tips to keep your appointment with the Sandman:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every night – even on weekends and vacations
- Get at least seven hours of sleep, even if that means going to bed earlier than normal
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid consuming caffeine
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
- Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime
- Set the mood for sleep by dimming the lights, making your bedroom a quiet, relaxing place and keeping the room temperature cool and comfortable
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime
- Resist heavy meals before bedtime. Have a light, healthy snack if you’re hungry
- If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes of trying, get out of the bed.
About the Author
Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on Advocate Aurora Health's Public Affairs team. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.