Eating healthy but not losing weight? Blame bad habits!
Blink twice if you’re guilty of bad bedtime snacking habits. We saw that. Whether you secretly love reality TV or enjoy an occasional Big Mac, we get it. It’s okay to occasionally indulge. Nobody’s perfect, everything in moderation and all that jazz. The trouble begins when once-in-a-while negative habits start becoming regular and interfere with our routine, especially sleep.
By now, most folks understand the connection between a poor diet and weight gain. What’s less clear is the link between our sleep habits and an unhealthy body weight. If you eat a carb and fat heavy meal before bed, your digestive system kicks into full gear – and it doesn’t work as efficiently laying down as it does upright. Hello, heartburn, indigestion, bad dreams…
On a normal night, your body burns almost half a calorie per pound for every hour of sleep. So a 200-pound man burns almost 100 calories just during sleep. Crazy, right? You can thank REM (rapid eye movement) for giving your brain a workout while you sleep. Trouble is, when your digestion is working overtime, those calories aren’t burned at the same rate – because it’s harder for your brain to slip into that deep, healing sleep.
Think of your body as Amazon or Target during the holidays – it never stops working and, in your body’s case, breaking down food. When there’s a misstep, like overeating before bed or poor sleep, production slows to a crawl and so does your chance at losing the extra pounds. It’s time to get back on track, kick your bad bedtime habits to the curb and ditch those extra pounds.
3 habits making you fat
1. Netflix & snack
What do you snack on when binging Netflix close to midnight – fruits and nuts? Doubtful. You’re more than likely wrist-deep in hot buttery popcorn with a side of Oreos. With all the twists and turns in Stranger Things, who can resist? Night owls, those who go to sleep after midnight and wake up mid to late morning, not only sleep less but tend to eat more calories at dinner or bedtime snacks compared to “normal” sleepers. According to diet experts, it’s not just what you eat, but when you eat, that affects your body’s ability to lose weight. Your sleep habits have a major influence on when you eat and how much.
Kick the habit. Sleeping 7-9 hours each night is crucial for a healthy daily routine. If you need to wake up at 7:00 am, pause Netflix at 10:00 pm to help ensure you’re snoozing by 11:00 pm. And when it comes to a late-night, rumbly stomach, try these healthy snacks:
- Oatmeal. Carbohydrates release serotonin, calming the brain and allowing you to fall asleep quickly.
- Milk. Contains an amino acid (which can help induce sleep) known as tryptophan. Melatonin, a hormone found in milk, regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
- Nuts. Nature’s plant-based protein contains magnesium, which has a calming effect on the brain and promotes better sleep.
2. Unwinding with a nightcap
You might think alcohol is a great stress reliever, a celebratory friend and sleep buddy. But while alcohol can reduce the time it takes for us to doze off, it does anything but guarantees a healthy night’s sleep. And just like that, alcohol becomes a frenemy AND major weight-gainer.
Kick the habit. Having a drink at dinner has minimal effect on sleep, so if you can enjoy a few sips before bed and still wake up refreshed, cheers to you! For those of us who don’t have that luxury, try these alternative beverages to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Tart cherry juice. Cherries contain melatonin, a hormone known to help regulate sleep.
- Pure coconut water. Usually known for its hydrating qualities, coconut water also contains high yields of potassium and magnesium which help relax muscles.
- Warm milk. A classic that’s been around since mothers were invented. Got milk? Then you may just have a solid night’s sleep too.
3. Wearing comfortable clothes to bed is a great bedtime habit
At the end of the day, when you’re exhausted and just want to slip into something comfortable, how much thought do you put into your pajamas? Maybe you throw on your favorite t-shirt from high school or fleece onesie pajamas. Wearing tight, uncomfortable clothes raises body temperature and disrupts melatonin levels, a natural chemical in your brain, which regulates sleep.
Kick the habit. The simple truth is that you have to wear what feels good, comfortable and functional for you in bed. If you want to lose a few pounds, may we suggest trying sleeping in the nude?
- Sleeping naked may help you get rid of belly fat. Growth hormones like cortisol are released during the night and help you to achieve a better sleeping pattern.
- Sleeping naked drops your body temperature. This natural temperature reaction helps increase melatonin to promote sleep.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly aren’t the only things that’ll tip the scale in your favor. Tonight, take a look at your nighttime habits and slowly adjust to better your sleep and lose the winter pounds.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- How clean (healthy) is your bedroom
- Heart health, sleep & how you can live longer
- Starting your day sleep deprived? 17 ultimate sleep hacks