While exercising and eating clean are important aspects of weight loss, sleeping for a solid 7-8 hours every night, and ensuring quality of sleep, are key components, too. If you are wondering why you are gaining weight of late, know that sleep could be playing a vital role.
Dr Archana Batra, a dietitian-nutritionist, physiotherapist and a certified diabetes educator says sleeping less than required increases your risk of developing health problems such as weight gain, depression, strokes, high blood pressure or heart diseases.
“There is also a link between sleep deprivation and harmful metabolic alterations. Sleeping 4 or 5 hours a night boosts hunger in adults, especially for calorie-dense foods high in carbohydrates,” she explains, adding that sleep length influences chemicals like ghrelin and leptin, which regulate hunger. Another factor could be that lack of sleep causes weariness, which leads to reduced physical activity.
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“People who stay up late have more time to eat and are more likely to munch throughout those extra hours. Sleep deprivation also reduces the number of calories burned every day. When you’re weary, you’re less likely to go to the gym or go for a walk,” she adds.
The expert lists the following tips for getting the 7–8 hours of sleep that is required to lose weight; read on.
* Pay attention to your circadian rhythm
The circadian rhythm is an inherent 24-hour clock in your brain that cycles between sleeping and wake states. It is most effective when followed on a regular basis. Create a sleep routine; every night, go to bed at the same time so that you can obtain 7–8 hours of sleep. At least one hour before bedtime, turn off all screens including TV, mobiles or PC.
Make a cup of chamomile tea, listen to relaxing music, read, or meditate.
* Avoid caffeine after noon
It can be tempting to go for coffee to get through the day if you’re fatigued. On the other hand, your body takes 6 hours to eliminate half of the caffeine you consume. Hence, switch to decaf in the afternoon and drink water instead of regular cola.
* Regular exercise
Regular exercise can not only help you manage your weight and reduce stress, but it will also enhance your wellness and help you get a good night’s sleep. Try to exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes most days, but not too close to bedtime.