There’s nothing like that sinking feeling when you realize you just downed a venti coffee way too late in the day to fall asleep at bedtime. And even if you remember to go decaf after lunch, your neighbor’s barking dog or work deadlines can still keep you up.
Nothing quite derails fat loss like terrible sleep. It isn’t just that you’re less rational about things like eating low-sugar impact and burst training; studies show just one night’s terrible sleep can knock your fat-burning hormones out of whack.1
Take back control of your nights by singling out what you can control during the day. Earplugs and a noise machine help drown out extra noise, and a pitch-black room makes for sounder sleep.
Sleep has always been tops among my blog topics because to burn fat, build muscle, rev up your metabolism, and feel your best all day, you need 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep every night. It’s not always easy, but here are seven ways I make it happen:
- Create a power-down hour. To prepare for a solid night’s sleep, power down an hour before you hit the sack. That “urgent” email from your boss can wait till morning, and trust me, you’re not missing anything with late-night talk shows. Studies prove that the light from electronics can interfere with sleep long after you turn them off, so put your iPhone to bed at least an hour before you turn in yourself.
- Go for calm. You’ve carved out that hour before bed sans electronics. Replace the hour you spent watching reruns with a mind-calming routine. Meditation, a hypnosis download, a hot bath with chamomile tea and a good (not great) book, or deep breathing are all options. Find what works for you to slowly shut down your mental chatter, so you can drift into a solid night’s sleep.
- Watch the alcohol. That second glass of pinot noir might pull you into slumber, but it will also make you dehydrated and cause blood sugar changes that can result in poor quality sleep. If you have a drink with or after dinner, pair it with two glasses of water, and don’t use alcohol as a sleep aid.
- Ditto caffeine. Love my Bulletproof Coffee, but I restrict it to the morning hours. Especially if you’re a slow metabolizer, a mid-afternoon java jolt can leave you jittery before bed. Limit the caffeine to morning hours and switch to green tea (preferably decaf) by afternoon.
- Try Sleep Candy. Sometimes you need a little extra help falling or staying asleep. Most over-the-counter stuff creates an awful morning-after “hangover,” and pharmaceutical sleep aids do more harm than good. Sleep Candy contains an all-natural blend of science-based nutrients and botanicals that calm your mind and gently help you drift into slumber, plus it tastes delicious. You can only find Sleep Candy here.
- Close your kitchen after dinner. Ideally, you’ll stop eating three hours before bed. (And no, that does not mean going to bed later!) That 11 p.m. siren snacking call inevitably crashes your blood sugar (making you an excellent fat storer) and cuts into quality sleep. Follow my plate rules at dinner and call it quits for the day. If you’re hungry before bed, you didn’t do dinner right. You might be thirsty too. A study at the University of Washington found that one glass of water before bed curbed hunger for everyone who tried it.
- Keep exercise early (but don’t skip out!) Among its many benefits, burst training combined with weight resistance will make you a better sleeper. But exercising too late in your day can leave you wired before bed, so you’re browsing the Macy’s clearance sale while you should be sleeping soundly. Go for it when it comes to bursting up the hotel stairs, but limit vigorous exercise to morning or early afternoon hours.
Together, these 7 strategies can help you get your z’s. What else would you add to this list to get 7 – 9 hours of consistent, uninterrupted sleep? Share your ideas below. I want to hear from you!