We all know that sleep is an important aspect to our general health, but did you know that your quantity (and quality) of sleep can directly affect your weight?
More and more doctors are discovering the connection between sleep and healthy weight management. Getting too little – or bad quality – sleep has been shown to affect your brain’s dopamine levels (your brain’s “feel good” hormone). When dopamine levels dive, your body craves sugar. That quick trip to the vending machine can give you a temporary boost, but the effects are short lived and soon you’ll find yourself reaching for another sugary snack to boost your energy back up. Along with a craving for less-than-healthy foods, low energy makes that all-important trip to the gym even less likely to take place. These bad habits can quickly become a cycle that takes its toll on your health.
Feel like you’re one of those caught in the bad-sleep cycle? The good news is: better sleep IS possible. Sleep expert Dr. Roizen from the Cleveland Clinic took the time to share with us some top advice
- Pick a bedtime and stick with it: Life is hectic and schedules are tight. The rest of your life runs on a schedule to keep everything going smoothly, why should your bedtime be any different? Treat your bedtime like any other important meeting. Set a time that will give you seven to eight hours of sleep and stick with it. That includes weekends. Staying with a set sleep schedule helps regulate your sleep and make it easier to get those quality zzz’s.
- Trick Insomnia: Even if you get onto a great sleep schedule, there are times when you just aren’t tired at bedtime. In those cases, don’t stay in bed counting sheep. If after 15 minutes you’re not tired, get out of bed and do a calming activity like reading or listening to soothing music until that tired feeling starts to hit you.
- Invest in a Mattress: We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping. When we think of it that way, spending a little extra on a quality mattress seems only necessary. There is no one mattress that’s right for everyone. Take the time to give each mattress a test try and make sure it fits your mattress needs. Even better, purchase a mattress that gives you a sleep guarantee (an amount of time you can try it at home and still return it if it doesn’t work out).
Want even more expert sleep advice? Check out the Dream Big website.