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. To look and feel your best all day, you need 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.
It isn’t just that it’s harder to make good diet and exercise choices when you’re exhausted. Studies show that just one sleep-deprived night can knock your stress hormones out of whack, making you more likely to gain weight and experience uncomfortable symptoms like skin breakouts.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, manage stress, 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 on 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 used to spend watching reruns with a mind-calming routine. Meditation, gratitude journaling, a hot cup of chamomile tea, 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 lull 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 never 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 caffeine 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!) Late-night snacking 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. Remember, if your stomach growls, you might actually be thirsty – 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 on our Facebook page – I want to hear from you!