7 Bad Sleep Habits That Cause Weight Gain

woman waking up in bed

If you’ve been losing sleep at night worrying about why you can’t seem to lose weight, you may very well be sleeping with the enemy:  bad bedtime habits.

Research shows that sleep plays an important role in weight management. People who get adequate sleep have lower BMI indexes than people who don’t. Findings also suggest that not getting enough sleep can cause weight gain.

“When you have poor sleep or lack of sleep, you’re setting a whole cascade of events in motion hormonally that could set you up for weight gain,” said John M. Jakicic, director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

When hormones like serotonin, dopamine and melatonin are thrown out of balance, these can affect your sleep, mood and food cravings. Sleep tight and wake up light by correcting these common weight-gaining sleep habits.

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1: Sleeping with lights on

Hopefully, you don’t still need a nightlight. Findings from a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology show that exposure to even a small amount of light not only affects quality of sleep, but can also put on extra pounds. Cortisol, “the stress hormone,” has also been shown to be abnormally high when you’re exposed to light.

The fix: When it’s time for “lights out”, really make sure all the lights are out. Close the blinds, use dark drapes, turn your alarm clock away from your line of sight and put your cell phone and other electronics at least three feet away.

2: Keeping your bedroom too warm

People who always have to sleep with a window cracked or a fan on (no matter the season) might actually be on to something. The body naturally cools down while you sleep, releasing fat-burning hormones and repairing your skin, bones and muscles. Having your room too warm can disrupt this process.

The fix: Sleep in a cool room, preferably below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.