If you are struggling with your weight getting a good night’s sleep can be a healthy habit. Lack of sleep can impact your eating habits and contribute to overeating.
Here are a few tips to help get you started with better sleep hygiene. Remember, everyone is different, so these might not be for everyone but might give you a general idea of how to make your sleep hygiene better for you!
- Have a routine, like when you were a kid! Bath time, story time… as adults we often throw ourselves into bed at night or we forget to give ourselves a needed buffer and don’t consider the time it will take to get ready (at least if you wear pajamas, brush your teeth, etc. on a regular basis)
- Naps strategically– if you need a nap make sure you aren’t napping longer than 1 hour. Try to nap before 2pm when possible.
- Avoid caffeine after 2pm if you have trouble with sleep.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. While alcohol might seem to make it easier to fall asleep, alcohol prevents you from having a deep sleep – so you are more likely to wake up tired.
- Stay hydrated! Mouth breathers like me lose a lot of water at night – stay hydrated throughout the day and don’t just guzzle it down before bed.
- Avoid screens (phones or computers) for 30 to 90 minutes before sleeping. Light activates your brain and can impact your ability to fall asleep.
- If your brain is thinking and you can’t fall asleep – get up! Go sit down somewhere quiet and not too bright. Do something to relax like reading or meditating. When you feel sleepy go back to bed and try again. Try not to lie awake in bed for longer than 20 minutes. (Also look at helicopter method attached)
- It may be helpful to do something relaxing, like taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading a book.
- Your body temperature goes down when you sleep or feel sleepy, so try turning the thermostat down.
- A warm foot bath might be helpful if you have trouble falling asleep. It helps with sleep onset as your body is better able to self-regulate and disperse body heat.
- Try not to exercise within 3 hours of bedtime. This brings your internal body temperature up and makes it harder for your body to wind down. This can be a hard one with our tough schedules – but if you notice that late night workouts occur on the nights you have trouble sleeping it might be worth examining.
- There are many good apps for guided meditation, but progressive muscle relaxation is a great one for stress and sleep. There are a lot of guided muscle relaxations that can be found online – or you can reach out if you are looking for a specific tool.
If you want more information, reach out to Kate Emery for more sleep hygiene and weight management resources.