One of the secrets to weight loss is quality sleep and good sleep habits. It’s why sleep is such a key pillar within Target100. Sleep is crucial in your path to a sustainable healthy lifestyle that helps you achieve your weight loss goals and maintain the weight loss. It is not only about sleep quantity but sleep quality! Poor sleep habits is a precursor for decreased ability to lose weight, worse mental health, and decreased overall wellness. We’re sharing our five favorite tips for sprucing up your sleep habits for better quality sleep. Perhaps extra important with daylight savings time and moving our clocks back this weekend.
5 tips for getting a better night's sleep and feeling more rested
Tip #1 - Don’t Snooze
Research shows that delaying your body’s process of waking up leads to grogginess and imbalance because you are interrupting your sleep schedule. The extra precious minutes of sleep you get from snoozing seem to actually hurt your internal clock. The real benefit of restful and restorative sleep is from deep sleep which snoozing does not achieve. In addition, you are telling your brain and body to go back into rest mode leaving you even more fatigued when you finally get out of bed. Our suggestion to wean yourself off the snoozing habit is to set your alarm for a realistic time, set only 1 alarm (this means no snooze button), and sit up as soon as possible.
Tip #2 - Keep a schedule
Your sleep needs are unique but a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night. As part of a healthy sleep routine, try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times. Eventually you may find that you don’t even need an alarm as your sleep schedule aligns with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Reminder - keeping a consistent sleep schedule on weekends and weekdays is important! If your weekends don’t follow the same schedule, then you will spend many weekdays simply trying to adjust back into the cycle. You can try using an automatic therapy lamp like this one which simulates a sunrise if you have trouble getting into a rhythm especially in an overcast climate.
Tip #3 - Time your caffeine and ditch the nightcap
Caffeine stays in your system for up to 6 hours so getting to sleep on time can be ruined if you have it too late in the day. If you are looking for a restorative night’s sleep, it is probably not worth it to have a late afternoon latte or cup of tea. Most people think of alcohol as a relaxant which can help you ease into sleep, however it really is a toxin. Alcohol interrupts REM sleep and decreases your sleep quality leaving you feeling even more tired the next morning. Be mindful of the evening glass of wine or nice cap if you are hoping to increase your REM sleep. Perhaps try a cup or tea or glass of warm water in the evening (but not right before bed so you don’t wake up needing to pee during the night) to stay well hydrated.
Tip #4 - Use a melodic ringtone
Have you ever been jolted awake by a fire alarm or someone jostling you to get ready? Well, there is a reason why you feel more drowsy when it happens. Startling wake-ups confuse our brain's ability to naturally adjust to having to face the day. Melodic ringtones on the other hand help your brain have a smoother “sleep inertia” which is the effect associated with the transition from sleep to awake. This period generally lasts around 30 minutes and can be worsened with the wrong ringtone so … pick a nice tune!
Tip #5 - Get some Exercise
Exercise has been shown to improve one's sleep as long as it is not done 2-3 hours before bedtime. This is because of post workout heart rate recovery times. A fast beating heart will make it harder to fall asleep. Probably not worth hitting the exercise pillar goal with the late evening cycle ride or run if it interrupts your sleep... If you don’t have time to exercise during the day, we would suggest light evening walks or a restorative yoga session like this one to add movement without raising your heart rate.
Building and maintaining healthy sleep habits are so important for your overall health and a key to successfully losing weight. Check out Target100 founder Liz Josefsberg’s favorite sleep products to help you get a restful night’s sleep for additional ideas to add to your nightly routine.
This post was written by our rockstar dietetic intern Jerahmeel Fong.