Sleep Tilts the Scale in Your Favor
Need an incentive to get a good night’s sleep more often? Sleep (or the lack of it) can have a direct effect on your weight. Without the uninterrupted sleep you need, your hormone balance can be thrown off and that may tend to make you eat more the next day. If you’re tired and groggy throughout the day, you may also reach for sweets and other high-carb foods to keep yourself alert.
To help you slumber toward better weight management, here are some effective ways to fall asleep and maintain a productive sleep cycle:
- Consistency is a key to successful sleep hygiene. If you set a regular bedtime and stick to it, your body will become used to the routine and you will have an easier journey sailing into dreamland. The sooner you fall asleep after you hit the pillow, the more likely you are to get the seven hours most people need for optimum health.
- Finish dinner at least two to three hours ahead of bedtime. Otherwise, your body is too active digesting your meal to let you attain productive sleep. And while some people find alcohol relaxing, it can actually disrupt the brain chemistry that regulates your sleep cycle.
- Computer and television screens make it more difficult to fall asleep because the blue light they give off suppresses your body’s production of melatonin. Turn off the electronics at least an hour before bedtime and read a book or magazine instead.
- Caffeine in the afternoon can keep you awake when you go to bed. Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume earlier in the day, or switch to a caffeine-free beverage by midday.
- If your mind often wakes you up at night with worries racing through your head – or even great ideas – keep a notebook or pad of paper next to the bed to jot down those things. By writing them down, you can reassure yourself they will be there in the morning when you wake up.
- Using an activity tracker, like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, you can figure out the things that most impact the quality of your sleep. Compare your routine on the days you log a great night’s sleep with the nights you’re tossing and turning.
While we’ve all heard how the lack of sleep can hurt us, we think it is better to consider how great sleep improves our quality of life and overall health.
About Danielle Keenan
Danielle Keenan, Health Management Specialist, provides employee health management consulting services and programs to Keenan clients. She works closely with hospitals and healthcare systems and Keenan benefit consultants to design and implement programs to help employers achieve optimal health and productivity for their workers.