You likely know that eating right and staying active are important parts of your weight loss journey, but did you know that sleep is also a vital component? Studies have found that people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to gain weight.1 Why? Lack of sleep can affect parts of the brain that regulate appetite and energy levels – which may lead to poor food choices or overeating.
If you’re struggling to get enough rest at night, we have 10 sleep hygiene tips to help you feel more energized and may help you sleep your way to a healthier lifestyle.
What is sleep hygiene?
First, are you wondering what sleep hygiene even means? It refers to the habits you need to have a good night’s sleep.2 Tips for sleep hygiene may help you get the downtime your body and mind have been craving.3 Here are 10 ideas to help you get a better night’s rest:
You might love getting your caffeine fix in the morning or during the afternoon slump, but avoiding it later in the day may help you rest more soundly. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it may prevent you from falling asleep at night. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School recommends avoiding coffee, tea and soda for four to six hours before your bedtime.4
2. Create a sleep sanctuary
If you’re looking to get more z’s, make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool for an ideal sleep environment. To create this setting, consider investing in light-blocking curtains or an eye mask for darkness and earplugs or a sound machine to help noises fade. Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom at 60 to 67 degrees for optimal rest. Try playing around with your thermostat – and find the temperature that works best for you.
3. Rely on a routine
Developing a relaxing ritual before bed could help you transition to sleep a little easier. For an hour or so before hitting the hay, try to do something relaxing, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing meditation. If you tend to worry when your head hits the pillow, try writing down your thoughts before slipping under the covers to help alleviate your wandering mind.
4. Set a sleep schedule
When you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, your body’s internal clock becomes accustomed to your routine – which may help you fall asleep a little easier.5 Your body can get confused when you sleep in on weekends and wake up early on weekdays. Try to set a sleep schedule that’s the around the same time each day – and stick to it as closely as possible.
5. Don’t get frustrated
We’ve all been there: you’re in bed, but can’t seem to fall asleep. If you’ve been counting sheep without success for at least 20 minutes, it may be time to get up. The National Sleep Foundation recommends going to a different room to do something relaxing, like read or listen to music, until you start to feel sleepy.6
6. Avoid watching the clock
Tick–tock–what time is it? When you’re struggling to fall asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night, it can be tempting to look at the clock to see how much longer you have to sleep. This may create stress, so resist the temptation by turning the clock away from you or by taking off your watch before climbing into bed.
7. Eat with your circadian rhythm
Not only can late-night snacking and heavy dinners lead to weight gain,7 but they also may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. By eating in line with your body’s natural internal clock, known as your circadian rhythm, and consuming more of your calories during daylight hours, you may be able to rest more soundly.8 Jenny Craig’s newest, most effective program, Rapid Results, leverages the revolutionary Nobel-prize winning science of circadian rhythm.
8. Avoid nighttime workouts
You might think that working out at night could help tire you out before bedtime, but it may make it more difficult to fall asleep.9 While exercise may improve your overall slumber10, avoiding vigorous activity in the evening may help you get to bed sooner.9 Since everyone is different, the American Sleep Association recommends experimenting with workouts at different times in the day to see what works best for you.11
9. Balance hydration
You don’t want to wake up thirsty in the middle of the night, but you probably don’t want to wake up for a bathroom trip either. While staying hydrated is important, if you find yourself waking up most nights to use the bathroom, try reducing your liquid intake 1-2 hours before turning out the lights.
Although sometimes there’s nothing better than an afternoon nap, it may interfere with nighttime sleep. Taking a nap late in the day may decrease your sleep drive, so, the National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your naps short (20-30 minutes) and earlier on in the day.12
Feeling sleepy yet? Try following these sleep hygiene tips to help you get a good night's sleep – they may even help you with your weight loss goals!
Jenny Craig is here to help you along your weight loss journey. Contact us for a free appointment and start a healthier lifestyle today!