We have underlined the importance of good-quality sleep in so many weight loss posts previously that we have now lost count, and it’s often one of the most overlooked factors without which significant weight loss becomes quite difficult. In fact, 7 hours of sleep is a prerequisite in order to get lean and sleep deprivation is linked strongly to increase in belly fat! Most of us tend to compromise on sleeping hours and use night-time to binge watch Netflix or spend hours watching random videos on youtube – letting such a practice negatively impact our health. Lack of sleep has a cascading effect on the body – right from the brain to the gut. Important hormones like insulin, cortisol, ghrelin, leptin, etc., go out of whack, metabolism slumps, appetite increases, and one’s decision to make the right food choices also gets impaired. If you are someone who is trying to lose weight, sleep deprivation should be addressed asap because research says that sleeping for less than 5 hours even for a few nights can considerably increase your chance of gaining weight, particularly around the waist area. Even though calorie-deficit diet and exercise are important factors that lead up to weight loss – sleep deprivation can completely ruin your efforts. In fact, if you are finding it extremely difficult to drop extra pounds and get lean in spite of diet and regular exercise, prioritize sleep over everything. Now, to help you get a good night’s sleep and to accelerate the fat-burning process, here are 9 Things To Do Before Sleep to do from today.
Why Good Sleep is of Great Importance For Losing Weight?
Even the best diet and extra hours of exercise will not help you with losing weight if you don’t get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation affects important hormones that are essential to lose weight. Low number of sleeping hours decreases leptin (satiety hormone), increases ghrelin (hunger hormone), and also shoots up cortisol (the stress hormone). Without enough sleep, you would wake up with a slow metabolism and a ravenous appetite, making you crave for sugary and high-calorie foods because your brain is looking for instant energy to make up for the lack of sleep. There’s also an increased risk to develop insulin resistance which makes fat burning even more difficult. All these factors add up and make losing weight extremely difficult.
9 Things To Do Before Sleep To Lose Weight:
1. Eat Fruits Before Sundown: Fruits and vegetables are considered an essential part of a balanced diet, and just because you are trying to lose weight, shunning fruits completely does not make any sense and that’s because fruits are packed with vitamins, essential minerals, and other nutrients that help with the fat-burning process, but the key lies in picking fruits with low glycemic index and practicing portion control. There is no dispute that you need to absolutely eat fruits on a daily basis even while dieting because most fruits come loaded with fiber which helps in curbing appetite and keeps gut bacteria healthy. However, do have them a few hours before hitting the sack because the natural sugars in fruits tend to spike blood sugar and disrupt with sleep and also because metabolism slumps during night-time, the body would have a hard time digesting the carbs and fiber content. It is thus advisable to consume fruits before 6 pm. (Also check out this list of “Top 19 Water-Rich Fruits for Weight Loss.”)
2. Eat a Protein-Rich Dinner A Few Hours Before Bedtime: Guess which hormone helps us get good sleep – it’s melatonin! When you eat a protein-rich dinner, particularly the ones that have amino acid “tryptophan” (milk, oats, cheese, nuts, seeds, chicken, etc.), it helps in the production of serotonin which in turn helps to produce more melatonin, which regulates sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, protein helps repair and build muscles and helps burn more calories – a win-win situation! Check out such healthy protein-rich meal plans on the Rati Beauty diet.
2. Keep Away Gadgets One Hour Before Bedtime: Blue light emitted from phones and other gadgets tend to interrupt with the circadian rhythm of the body, by blocking melatonin hormone, which is needed to take the body into a “sleepy” state. Keep all gadgets including your phone away one hour before bedtime to sleep like a baby!
3. Avoid Refined and Sugary Drinks: Foods with refined carbs and sugar tend to spike up blood sugar and the rise in insulin and subsequent slump will leave you hungry in a short time, and if you are checking out what’s in the refrigerator in the middle of the night, this is the reason!
4. Do Not Have Coffee Right Before Bed: We all need a hot cup of coffee to kickstart the day, but at the end of the day, it’s the last thing you should be having because the caffeine in coffee can keep you awake for up to 6 to 8 hours! And make you toss and turn in the bed.
5. Do Not Exercise Too Close to Nap Time: Experts say you should exercise a few hours before hitting the bed (keep a gap of at least 3 hours) and never too late into the night because all those happy hormones released would keep you alert and interrupt with the sleep cycle.
6. Avoid Dessert and Indulge in a Kiwi Treat Instead: Skip dessert after dinner by all means to get healthy and lean, instead pick up a kiwi which has serotonin which would help you sleep better at night.
7. Meal Prep for the Next Day: On a diet? Make a little bedtime routine where you can meal prep for the next day – doing such a thing would make sure you are sticking to your weight loss diet better and eliminating any chance of digging into unhealthy, high-calorie food when you are hungry the next day.
8. Write Everything Down in a Food Diary: Keeping a food diary would help you track and cut out extra calories and junk from your daily diet. Spending just 5 minutes at the end of the day to write down everything you ate would help you trim down unnecessary calories. Studies show that women who maintain a food diary are more likely to lose weight faster as compared to women who do not watch their portions. Maintaining a food log gives you a reality check at the end of each day.
9. Lower Down the Temperature on AC: When exposed to cold temperatures, the body starts to burn brown fat to regulate core temperature, so lowering the temperature on the AC would help a bit in burning extra calories and brown fat. But do try to sleep in comfy clothes at night and with the AC switched on to activate brown fat burning.
Doing these things on a daily basis, right before bedtime, will help shave off extra fat and get to your goal weight quickly.