Sleep is brain food that is vital for good health. Not only does it affect our energy levels, but also our ability to think, pay attention, make decisions, and be productive. And a new study found sleep can also affect our ability to lose weight.

How Is Sleep-Related To Weight Loss?

Researchers evaluated almost 2,000 overweight people after one year on an intensive weight-loss program. Participants followed a Mediterranean-style, low-calorie diet while simultaneously exercising and improving other lifestyle habits. And what they found was that those who slept 6 or fewer hours per night lost less weight than those who slept between 7 and 9 hours each night.

This is just one example of how important sleep is to overall health. Unfortunately, not enough of you are making this a priority and often sacrifice sleep. So, make sure you’re getting enough sleep – especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

How Can I Get More Sleep?

Luckily, there are a few simple things you can start tonight to get your sleep pattern back on track.

  1. Schedule – create a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, weekends included.
  2. Avoid – Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, large meals, and cigarettes at night. All of these are sleep disrupters and can negatively impact your sleep quality. If you struggle with evening cravings, try a light snack about 45 minutes before bed.
  3. Wind Down – Wind down at least 1 hour before bed. Put away electronic devices – stay away from screens (anything with blue light). Read a printed book, meditate, or enjoy a cup of herbal tea to prepare for sleep.
  4. Exercise – While important for overall health, exercise can also help you sleep. Moving energy around by moving your body during the day relieves stress and can help promote a good night’s sleep.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

It may go without saying, but when it comes to weight loss, it is very important to watch what you eat. Eating high-calorie foods, especially processed ones, will not be effective in dropping excess weight. Instead, I recommend you eat as healthy as possible 80% of the time – this means eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, and healthy whole grains.

Lifestyle adjustments can go a long way for sleeping well and losing weight. But, if you’re making strives towards these changes and still have trouble sleeping, please talk to your doctor. You may have underlying issues such as sleep apnea impeding your sleep.

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