When we embark on a weight-loss journey it's natural to focus on what we eat, how often we exercise and ensuring that we are drink enough fluids... simple, right?
Well, not exactly!
Our body also needs something that is crucial for weight loss and it's often overlooked or not mentioned by weight-loss "experts".
So what is the missing ingredient? The one thing that you can easily adjust yourself and it doesn't break the bank, cause an injury or make you sweat.
The answer is "sleep". Getting enough shut-eye is vital to losing weight and also maintaining optimum health. We've become so busy that we often feel we need to squeeze every last minute out of our day. Our "busy-ness" is costing us in the form of extra centimeters around our waistline and this leaves us lacking the energy we need to make good food choices.
It's a vicious cycle, when we feel tired we drink more coffee and rely on sugar to give us energy when we really need to be alert to keep in tune with our inner health goals. When we feel tired we are less likely to do the exercise we need to help shift those extra kilos... sound familiar?
So how much sleep do we 'really' need?
It's often said that we need eight hours a night sleep but some of us need more than this and the time we goto bed is also very important. Often our busy-ness means we never truly find out how much sleep our body ideally needs.
Here are seven tips for getting the right amount of sleep to aid weight loss:
- Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. Caffeine lingers in our system and often we don't realize how much it has hit us until we are lying in bed at 11 p.m., wide awake.
- Keep away from sugary drinks (including wine) and heavy foods like bread and pasta in the evening. These foods make our digestive system work harder overnight rather than letting our body rest and recover.
- Aim for a 10 p.m. bedtime (at the latest) most nights. Research shows that the time between 10pm and midnight is the best time to achieve a deep sleep -- think of this time as your hours of power!
- Shut down screens and phones at least one hour before bedtime so when you get into bed you fall asleep quickly.
- Don't drink too much water before bed. Getting up several times in the night to go to the toilet is a good sign that you are drinking too much before bedtime.
- Take advantage of catnaps at any opportunity. A half-hour recharge is incredibly good for boosting energy levels and can make an amazing difference to our waistline.
- Start a gratitude journal and each evening before bed write down one thing you are thankful for that happened that day. Going to sleep feeling grateful and calm makes it much easier to drift off to sleep.
Have you discovered how much sleep you need each night for your own health yet? I'd love to hear how you've found sleep impacts your weight in the comments.
If your sleep habits need improving so you can have more energy and lose weight you're invited to join my free 7 Days to Better Sleep Challenge.