Let’s face it, when we start dieting and exercising, one of the things that can suffer is our sleep schedule. We may find ourselves staying up later in the day to look at our phones or watch tv since exercise and meal prepping has taken more time. We may think that this isn’t a big deal, but, your sleep schedule and how many hours you are getting each night can affect the way we function during the day.
Health Benefits of Better Sleep
If we want to perform at a high level each day, we need to make sure that we are getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Not only will you feel less tired, but there are health benefits to sleep that can be extremely beneficial on your weight loss journey.
- Improved Mood
Getting the recommended amount of sleep helps restore your energy levels that can boost your mood. If you are in a better mood, chances are you will be happier and have more energy to do things like workout, go on a walk, and build healthy meals.
- Healthy Heart
Getting a quality amount of sleep also helps improve your cardiac health. While you are sleeping, your heart rate will slow down and reduce your blood pressure. This gives your heart time to rest, and a lack of sleep could cause your blood pressure to remain high for longer periods of time.
- Athletic Performance and Recovery
When you are on your weight loss journey, chances are that you are exercising more often. Getting enough sleep is a key element in muscle recovery, as the body’s production of growth hormones is highest during sleep. These hormones help repair the body and can contribute to muscle growth. Getting enough sleep also ensures that you have the energy to perform these workouts the next day!
- Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the key components of maintaining weight when paired with exercise and healthy eating. According to the Sleep Foundation, getting enough sleep helps our body produce more of an appetite suppressor, called leptin, and reducing production of the appetite stimulant ghrelin.
All of these benefits of sleep are great, but if someone is struggling to get the right amount of hours a night, what can they do? To start, finding the perfect bedtime routine may help.
Benefits of a Nighttime Routine
When you are able to start a bedtime routine, it can make it easier for you to not only fall asleep on time, but also to stay asleep throughout the night. A sleep routine keeps you on track and helps you benchmark where you need to be at certain points. Bedtime routines, once perfected, will also help you begin to shut down for the night, clear your mind, and relax, making it easier to go to bed.
Each nighttime routine can be extremely unique to the individual, so it’s important to do what works best for you. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few different tasks you can perform during your bedtime routine that can help you relax.
Bedtime Routines to Help with Sleep
- Set Alarm to Start Winding Down
Setting an alarm is a great way to start off your nighttime routine. This helps you remember that you need to start slowing down and keeps it at a consistent time each day. If you don’t set an alarm, you may miss the clock by getting caught up in different things.
- No TV or Phones After a Certain Time
TVs and phones can be harmful to your sleep schedule because they emit what is called blue light, which interferes with your brains production of melatonin. This can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Try no TV or phones 30 minutes before bed, and increase the time. It’s possible that your best sleep comes if you turn the TV and phone off an hour before bed or more. What is important is that you find what works best for you. If you have to, you can purchase blue light glasses which are designed to provide relief from the side effects of blue light.
- Avoid caffeine
This may seem obvious but stopping your caffeine intake earlier in the day is best. When you have a cup of coffee or a soda with caffeine, you can feel those affects for up to six hours. If you plan on going to bed around 9 p.m., you probably shouldn’t be drinking any caffeine past 3 p.m.
- Jot down thoughts in a journal
Jotting down your thoughts in a journal is a great way to stop that “overthinking” mentality and help yourself relax. You can write down a recap of your day, what you want to get done tomorrow, or any other thoughts you have that may keep you up. Instead of letting your mind race with all these thoughts and trying to remember them, get them written down to help reduce stress.
- Stress relief techniques
Writing in your journal is one way to help reduce stress, but there are plenty of other options out there as well. For a lot of people, yoga is a great stress relief, and you can even tailor your yoga stretches to slow your heart rate and prepare you for bed. Warm baths are another great stress reducer that can help you unwind and prepare for bed.
If you’re currently working with Options on a weight loss plan, make sure you discuss sleeping habits with our experts. They will be able to tell you if your sleep schedule is healthy or if it may need to be altered a little. And if you are just starting your weight loss journey and want to talk, we’d be happy to help! You can schedule a free consultation and begin the conversation now.