Holiday Survival Tip #6: Go to Sleep
Quality sleep is one of the essential ‘nutrients’ of successful weight loss (and good health). Without it, even if you're eating a perfect diet, exercising appropriately, and managing your stress, just one night of poor sleep can result in dramatic changes in appetite and food intake and prevent weight loss or even cause weight gain.
Lack of quality, or enough, sleep can:
- Increase stress hormone levels and make us hungrier for starchy/sugary foods, and much more likely to overeat.
- Reduce our carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity, which makes it easier to gain weight quickly, even without eating more food.
- Interfere with our circadian rhythm, which slows down metabolism, causing the body to hang onto, and even gain, fat.
How to get your ‘beauty sleep’ during the holidays to prevent weight gain:
- Schedule sleep in your calendar. Try to go to bed, and be asleep, the same time every night, as often as possible. Consistency is key!
- Having a starchy, high-fiber carbohydrate, like a sweet potato or butternut squash, at dinner will prime your body for a good night's sleep.
- Moderate your alcohol intake. Even though you may fall asleep easily, alcohol will disrupt the quality of your sleep by decreasing the amount of REM sleep (the restorative phase of sleep).
- Try to ‘wind down’ your digital device usage at least an hour before bedtime. Or use a digital orange filter to cancel the blue, sleep-disrupting light emanating from most phones and computers.
- When all else fails, you can turn to magnesium to help you sleep. Take 400 mg of magnesium (ex: citrate, glycinate, or malate forms) about an hour before bedtime to help you relax. Or soak in a nice hot Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) bath to get a quality night's sleep.