Sleep is crucial for good health. Lack of quality sleep is associated with a host of health issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic disorders. It’s also important when it comes to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
At BodyLogicMD, Dr. Anita Petruzzelli helps her patients reach an optimal level of health, and improving your sleep habits can be a very important piece of your health puzzle. If you’re trying to lose weight but also burning the midnight oil, this post is for you!
Sleep and weight
American culture seems to prize sleeplessness, but it can cost us our health. As the amount of time Americans sleep has decreased, the average body mass index (BMI) has increased. There is certainly an association between weight and sleep.
Researchers are still studying the ways that sleep and weight are connected, but some theories exist. For example, some scientists think that there’s a problem with our neurotransmitters that signal hunger when we don’t sleep enough. Other studies seem to indicate that a lack of sleep causes dysregulation of the metabolism.
Regardless of the exact underlying causes, it’s clear that more sleep and better sleep help with weight regulation. The following are tips to help you improve your sleep.
1. Be consistent
It may be tempting to sleep in on the weekends or get up extra early a few days a week to exercise. But, most research shows that it’s much better to maintain regular sleeping patterns. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time. A regular sleep schedule can even help improve insulin sensitivity.
2. Aim for about 7-8 hours of sleep per night
Babies and children need more sleep than adults, but adults generally need at least seven hours of good sleep each night. Trying to make due with less is bad for your health, concentration, and mood.
3. Don’t eat or drink late in the evening
Eating close to bedtime may cause poor, restless sleep and disrupt the hormones your body releases during sleep. A large meal just before bed can be especially bad for the quality of your sleep.
Of course, drinking a big glass of water right before bed can mean waking up to go to the bathroom. Try to avoid drinks for one to two hours before going to bed.
4. Optimize your routine and bedroom
Limit the amount of blue light you’re exposed to before bed. Looking at your phone or computer can negatively affect your circadian rhythm. You may choose to wear blue-light blocking glasses, use an app that blocks blue light, or simply avoid screens for about two hours before bed.
Other changes you can make include taking a relaxing bath or shower, slowly dimming the lights in the hours just before bed, and developing a relaxation or meditation habit before bedtime.
Keeping your bedroom a comfortable temperature and making it inviting for sleep can be another important aspect of improving your sleep.
5. Talk to your doctor
If you struggle with getting enough high-quality sleep, you should talk to Dr. Petruzzelli to rule out any kind of sleep disorders. She may also recommend supplements or medications when appropriate, because sleep is crucial for good health.
Schedule your appointment today to learn more about the connection between sleep and health and find out what options you have for improving your sleep habits.