Advice about sleeping usually starts with telling you to go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule. Advice about losing weight usually starts with telling you to choose a meal and exercise plan and stick with it. In reality that’s much easier said than done.
But why am I talking about sleep when we’re discussing weight loss? Because you can turn around your weight loss by changing your sleep. Here’s why.
University of Chicago did a study comparing weight loss from people who slept eight and a half hours per night and persons who slept five and a half hours per night. Both groups were on a 1450 calorie diet plan and both groups lost about the same amount of weight; six and a half pounds. But the difference was that the longer sleepers’ weight loss was about half pure fat as opposed to the shorter sleep participants. Their six and a half pounds was about a quarter fat. And it’s important to lose fat and build muscle while you are changing your size and shape.
You Can Win
Do you have a weight loss contest at work? Lots of companies have them and sometimes friends just get together to lose weight. Well, you can beat them all by controlling your sleep and losing more fat than them.
That’s right. You can win. Just by sleeping more. Because when you have more sleep, you burn more calories even when you are just sitting. The American Journal of Clinical Nutritiondid a study that showed persons with more sleep had a resting energy expenditure that was five percent higher than tired people. In addition, they burned twenty percent more calories after a meal than their low sleep counterparts. Yeah, you can win!
Learn to Get to Bed Early
If you have a day job, you pretty much have to get up when the alarm goes off. On the other hand, your bedtime is up to you, and that’s where your plans may go all wrong. You might decide to go to bed on time, but then you find yourself binge watching the new season of House of Cards or shopping for wine online until the wee hours. Then, you feel rotten the next day at work, and resolve to turn over a new leaf. Unfortunately, you spend the next night chatting on the phone with your old college roommate.
What you need are new habits to break the cycle. Check out this list of things you can do to help you go to bed earlier and wake up fresh in the morning.
Things to Do Before You Go to Bed
You’re more likely to succeed if you aim to go to bed at a certain hour rather than leaving the timetable vague . Count back 7 or 8 hours from the time you need to wake up. Greet the sun. Light has a powerful impact on your brain. Exposure to morning sun will make you more alert and sync your internal clock so that you’ll be drowsier later in the evening.
Turn off electronic devices; your phone, your Kindle or your iPad. Turn off your computer and TV at least an hour before bed. You’ll sleep better if you avoid lighted screens and mental stimulation.
Engage in activities you’ll associate with going to bed like taking a warm bath and putting on your pajamas. Drink a cup of herbal tea or moisturize your feet. Read a book to engage your mind in other thoughts besides your own to do list. Lay out your clothes for the morning.
Coffee and cocktails could keep you up at night and interfere with the quality of your sleep. Have your last cup of java before 2 pm, and skip the nightcaps. You might think that glass of wine relaxes you but it does interfere with your restorative dream sleep which is the purpose of sleep.
Studies show that working 50 hours or more a week dramatically impairs your sleep and productivity. You’ll feel happier and accomplish more if you leave the office at a reasonable hour. Cut down on the extracurricular activities that cut into your sleep time.
While naps are usually an effective way to catch up on the rest you need, you want to stay awake while you’re adapting to a new schedule. If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, remember that the discomfort is temporary. You’ll adjust to your new routine in a couple of days.
Things to Do After You Go to Bed
Stop worrying. Many adults with insomnia actually sleep more than they realize. It’s natural to wake up periodically during the night. Reading before sleep is a good way to take your mind off your own worries while you get absorbed in the story.
. Turn on a recorded hypnosis session to take you into deep sleep. Deep meditation and hypnosis have many of the same health benefits as sleeping. Repeat a mantra or focus on your breathing while you’re waiting to drift off.
Maybe an aching back or stiff shoulders are making you toss and turn . Until you buy a new mattress, your old pillows can help. If you sleep on your side, put a cushion between your knees to align your hips. When you’re on your back, support your spine by placing a pillow under your thighs.
Sleep plays an essential role in your health and your weight loss goal. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you start going to bed on time.
A graduate of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, Angie J. Hernandez, C.Ht., has her private practice in Milford, Indiana. She is certified in hypnotherapy by the Hypnotherapist's Union Local 472. Angie is the author of "Weight Loss Epiphany: The Workbook" and "The Pretty & Smart Planner. You can find out more about Angie and how to schedule private sessions by calling (574) 658-4686.
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