Looking to slim down this holiday season? If you are like a large part of the American population, nearly 49% according to a recent national Gallup poll, you’d be more than happy to shed a few unwanted pounds. Yet the reality is that losing weight is hard work.
Calculating calories, finding the time and motivation to work out, and forgoing those holiday second helpings is a challenge. What if the answer to a thinner you didn’t involve more work, but less? What if the secret to a slimmer self was as easy as a good night’s sleep?
Sleep more and weigh less? That doesn’t seem like the most obvious of associations. However, more research is making just such a connection. In fact, a recent study out of Columbia University showed that people who slept less than seven hours per night were heavier and gained more weight. They also had a more difficult time losing weight than their more well-rested contemporaries.
This study is just one of thousands that continue to support a direct correlation between getting enough sleep and losing weight. When was the last time you got your required eight hours of straight sleep?
Kick start a sexier you this season by making the most of your beauty rest. Here are five hacks to help you sleep more and lose weight.
Hack #1: Try a Little Tea
Implementing pre-bedtime tea time is an easy and effective way to prepare both your mind and your body for a quality night’s sleep. Non-caffeinated varieties including chamomile, peppermint, valerian, and lavender have been proven to calm and relax.
This helps make the hours you do spend in between the sheets as productive as possible. As an added benefit, teas are naturally calorie-free. Many studies have shown particular varieties of tea enhance fat burning effects within the body.
Hack #2: Close the Kitchen After 8pm
When you set specific hours that limit late-night eating, you improve your weight loss efforts three-fold. First, late night snacking typically results in poor food choices. The more tired you become, your inhibitions are lower and your cravings higher.
Second, consuming large meals right before bed has been shown to negatively impact your sleep quality, even if you still get all your required hours. Third, recent studies have shown that nighttime fasting results in increased overall weight loss, even if you eat more food during the day. Cut off your kitchen at least three hours before bed.
Hack #3: Dial Down the Thermostat
Creating a cooler climate in your bedroom isn’t only good for you energy bill, it’s also good for your gut. Colder temperatures enhance the effectiveness of certain brown fat stored within the body. It’s the kind that burns belly fat to keep you warm. As you shiver ever so slightly just before curling up under your comforter, you can rest assured with the knowledge that you are effectively combatting the bulge of belly fat.
Hack #4: Turn Off the TV
Studies suggest the use of electronics before bedtime has been shown to negatively impact the overall quality of a person’s sleep. Even if you think a little late night channel surfing helps mellow you out, the reality is that the visual stimulation actually encourages mental activity. In addition, science suggests a direct link between weekly TV time and weight. The more hours spent in front of the tube, a person’s weight tends to be greater.
Hack #5: Lights Out!
There’s a reason why we sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light. Melatonin, the hormone in the body responsible for inducing sleep, is compromised by the presence of light. Whether it’s sunshine or ambient light from your household lamps and fixtures, all sources of outside light should be eliminated to help you sleep better and lose weight. Try blackout shades to create an even better-darkened den for your nightly hibernation.
Try these tips out tonight and sleep your way to a slimmer you.