The importance of sleep for weight loss

Did you know that getting enough sleep can actually help you lose weight?

It’s true! And while “getting enough sleep” sounds simple enough, we understand that it’s not always realistic (because we’ve been there and still have those days), but getting enough sleep is incredibly important as a part of any weight loss journey.

So what can you do to ensure you’re getting enough sleep, and how much sleep is “enough”?

For optimal health women need an average of 7-8 hours per night….Did you just laugh out loud?… 😂 If you did… don’t worry, we’ll give you some ideas on how to make this happen.

First, if it’s truly not possible to get a full night of sleep (i.e. newborn baby, snoring spouse, loud neighbors), then try for the next best thing…

1 – Take a power nap!

(Preferably before 2pm)

Not everyone can just lie down and take a nap. I’ve had a similar experience with naps as I’ve had with meditation. It actually took practice! But I’ve found when I plug my headphones into some meditation or relaxation music, (which can easily be found on YouTube), and close my eyes for 10-20 minutes, it can be just the recharge to get me through the day until bedtime. My kids call them “Mom Timeouts” and you know what? I LOVE my Mom Time-outs!

If you work in an office environment where lying down for a power nap isn’t a possibility, simply taking a few minutes of your lunch hour to sit in your quiet car with some soft music, deep breathing, and zero interruptions can be magical!

You don’t actually have to fall asleep in order to feel re-energized. Just giving your mind and body a little break can be even better than actual sleep.

So if you’re not able to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep due to circumstances outside your control, give that a try.

2 – Pre-Bedtime Prep

Take a look at your activities leading up to bedtime. What are you doing to prepare your body and mind for sleep?

Here are a few ideas to get into sleepy mode before bed…

    • Have a routine or ritual that is all your own and helps you unwind (examples include: stretching or yoga, meditation, a cup of chamomile tea, reading a book, etc.)
    • Try to go to bed within 10 minutes of the same time each night, preferably before 10:30
    • Stop eating 1-2 hours before bedtime (and try to make your evening snacks low-carb like greek yogurt or half a protein shake…steer clear of sugary, fast carb options)
    • Exercise! This can actually help you achieve better quality rest while you sleep.
    • Turn off the ringer on your phone, maybe even put it across the room so you’re not tempted to scroll at night.
    • Avoid scrolling through your phone 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
    • Turn the TV off 30 minutes before sleep (or just remove it from the bedroom altogether)…this is a hard one for a lot of people, myself included, but when I stick with it, I notice a big difference in the quality of sleep I get.
    • Use a white noise machine or turn on soothing music.

Start by implementing just one or two small changes to your daily sleep habits and just see what happens. You might find that simply creating better sleep habits is actually moving you toward your health goals a little faster. You’ll have more energy which will decrease the need for sugary snacks during the day. Give it a try!

 

3 – Avoid the Snooze Button

Hitting the snooze button in the morning can be really tempting when you’re extra tired, but it can also just become a habit that drains your energy. There are actual studies that show that hitting the snooze button makes you more tired because your not actually getting any restful sleep. Once that alarm goes of, you might drift off, but you never really fall back to sleep so by the time you roll out of bed, you feel even more depleted.

Set your alarm for the time you intend to wake up and then assert yourself to get right out of bed. If this is something you struggle with, check out this article by Hal Elrod, author of Miracle Morning, for some amazing tips to start your morning of on the right side of the bed every day (pun intended)!

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