Did you know that poor sleep habits are associated with average increases in food intake of ~250 calories per day? In other words, sleeping less than 6 hours per night (versus 7-9 hours) for 6 months can result in a weight gain of ~10-12 pounds, notwithstanding weight that may be added if exercise is reduced because of chronic fatigue!
Below are several tips to help you to increase your sleep time and lose weight in the process! Make sure to also check out the previous blog on ways to “sleep like a baby” (https://wordpress.com/post/healyourheartbook.wordpress.com/2400).
- Make dinner a light meal: Concentrate most of your food intake during breakfast & lunch so that ~75% of your calories are consumed before dinner (rather than the other way around).
- Don’t eat within 2-4 hours of bedtime: Our minds are trying to relax after a long day, so why rev up our body’s metabolic machinery at night? This means no snacking after dinner (a 250 calorie snack each night + poor sleep habits can produce a 1 pound weight gain each week).
- Walk after your dinner meal: Take a 20-30 minute leisurely walk (weather permitting) after dinner to assist in digestion.
- Stand & stretch every 20-30 minutes. Once you head to the couch or recliner, make sure to stand up 2-3 times each hour. All of these measures will help you sleep better and shed some pounds in the process.
- Dr. Michael Miller is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is also a member of the Nutrition Committee for the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. For more weight losing and sleep gaining tips, check out Dr. Miller’s book, “Heal your Heart”.