Eating right and regular exercise are just two of the pieces in the weight loss puzzle.
Make the right choices during your downtime and in the evenings, and you may notice some amazing results when it comes to your weight loss efforts.
Here are seven things you can do at bedtime to help you on your way.
1. Skip The Heavy Dinners
This one goes without saying: If you’re loading up on Chinese takeout or hearty mac ‘n cheese as your nighttime meal, you’re more likely to wake up bloated and heavier than you were before you hit the hay. Instead, do as the Spaniards do and keep your dinners nice and light. Think: veggies, lean protein, and a scoop of quinoa or whole-grain rice. A bowl of soup, a small sandwich, or a fully-loaded salad are also excellent options. Taper off your calories at the end of the day so your body expends its extra energy burning fat while you sleep, rather than on digestion.
2. Turn Down The Heat
It’s certainly feels nice to be all warm and cozy in bed – but did you know that keeping your bedroom cooler may lead to weight loss? The journal Diabetes conducted a study that had participants sleep in three different temperatures: 19, 24 and 27 degrees celsius. Those who slept in 19-degree rooms for a month doubled their volumes of brown fat, which reduced their amount of belly fat. (Unlike regular old white fat, which stores calories, mitochondria-packed brown-fat cells burn energy and produce heat.)
3. Eat A Protein-Filled Snack (If You Must)
Nighttime snacking is best avoided, but for those nights when you simply must eat a late-night something to quiet a rumbling stomach, the best option is protein. You should only need a small serving to satisfy your craving, so try a small piece of cheese, a handful of your favourite nuts or a glass of warm milk.
4. Prep Your Lunch
Taking the time to plan out your meals can go a long way towards saving you unwanted calories. If you’re eating all your lunches out, you’re likely consuming far more calories than you would be if you had brown-bagged it. Prepare a clean lunch with healthy portion sizes every night before you go to bed, and you’ll never be tempted to run out for fast food at the office again.
5. Turn Off The Electronics
Sleep is absolutely essential towards weight loss. Studies show that cutting down on screen time before bed can help us sleep better faster, as we remove those stimulating bright screens from our retinas and allow our bodies to go into “nighttime” mode. Before bed is a great time to read a book, meditate or take a warm bath. On the other hand, eating sugar-laden treats, drinking alcohol or staying up late watching Netflix will only rev up your body and make it that much harder to sleep. Instead, make a cup of chamomile tea, curl up with a book, and let yourself relax. .
6. Go To Bed At The Same Time Every Night
If you struggle not only with falling asleep at night, but also to get up in the mornings, your best bet is to stick to a strict sleep schedule. Aim to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day — whether or not you’re getting up for a workout. This will help train your body to not only sleep soundly at night, but to also be OK with waking up at a certain time for workouts, if that’s the only time you can fit them in.
Those who stick to a regular sleep schedule tend to sleep better overall, and as we all know by now, getting enough sleep is absolutely essential for weight loss. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people of average weight typically got 16 more minutes of sleep a day than people who were overweight. Why? Sleep helps to regulate your leptin and ghrelin hormones. People who get more sleep tended to have lower ghrelin levels (grehlin stimulates hunger) and higher leptin levels (leptin regulates energy and appetite).
7. Avoid The Night Caps
It might seem like that half-bottle of wine helps you drift off to sleep, but it won’t help you get that deep, restful slumber that your body craves. “Alcohol consumed too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality in the second part of the night,” says says Rebecca Scott, Ph.D., research assistant professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center—Sleep Center. That’s because when you’re body is metabolizing the sugar in alcoholic beverages, it’s not actually resting. This results in a longer, light sleep stage, and a shorter, more fragmented dream sleep.