Leslie Wieczorek – SLEEP IT OFF!
November 15, 2010 By: Blogger
You eat right, you exercise, you take vitamins, but you still aren’t losing weight or feeling that great. So what’s missing? It could be something more important to your body than food: SLEEP! Lately, I have been having some problems myself, so I did a little research to compile a list of good sleep habits.
According to recent studies, sleep may be as crucial to weight loss as diet and exercise. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, the hormones that control hunger and satiety become out of balance, causing you to want to eat more. One study even found that women who were well rested weighed 10 pounds less than their sleep deprived counterparts!!!
And while insomnia sufferers know that they are missing sleep, many disrupted sleepers may not even realize that they aren’t getting a full night’s rest. So what can you do to make sure this isn’t happening to you?
Here are 7 ways to improve the quality of your sleep tonight:
1) Get up earlier, and at the same time, every morning (even on weekends).
Sorry, for all of your weekend sleep-in-ers out there an irregular sleep schedule doesn’t help you make up sleep, it makes things worse. Try setting your alarm 30-45 minutes earlier in the mornings to help make yourself drowsier earlier in the evening. And be sure to stick with your final wake up time every day for the best quality sleep.
2) Cut out caffeine after 11:00am.
Did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 14 hours? Do yourself a favor and skip that 3pm coffee or Red Bull shot at Happy Hour and after a few days of real quality sleep you probably won’t even want it anymore.
3) Stretch out before heading to bed.
Stretching is a relaxing ritual that can help your body and mind unwind before settling into bed. Play some soft music, light some candles, and just take a few minutes to stretch and relax.
4) Have a glass of red wine at night.
While too much alcohol can cause sleep disruption, several studies found that having just one single glass of red wine before drifting off can help your body’s production of melatonin. Sorry Pinot Grigio lovers, the effect only works with red wine, as the highest levels of melatonin are found in the skins of red grapes and are brought out during the fermentation process (so grape juice won’t have the same effect). The highest melatonin levels can be found in Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
5) Check your mattress & bedding: is it large/firm/cool enough for you?
Bedding that is too firm/soft/hot, etc. can cause sleep disruption if you are constantly shifting positions, removing covers, etc. because you are uncomfortable.
A recent study found that exercise is an effective prescription for insomnia, and afternoon exercise may be even better for improving your sleep. Just be careful – if you find you are more alert at night after exercising past 4pm – you may need to schedule your workouts earlier in the day if you find that it affects your ability to fall asleep.
7) Use a slumber mask.
Blocking out all light can drastically improve your body’s ability to fall (and stay) asleep. Even the light from your alarm clock or cell phone can be enough to alert your body’s natural ‘wake up’ sensor. The easiest (and least expensive) way to do this is to buy a slumber mask instead of black out curtains and moving all clocks.
And….one more-keep your bedroom cool.
For most people, 68 degrees is the recommended bedroom temperature for quality sleep. Just make sure you aren’t too cold, or hot in order to stay in a state of deep sleep.