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 rest, you’re setting a whole cascade of events in motion hormonally that could set you up for weight gain,” John M. Jakicic, director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh says.
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 right by correcting these common weight-gaining sleep habits.
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 the quality of rest 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: Sleeping on your stomach
If we had to rank sleeping positions, lying on your stomach might be at the bottom of the list. While it’s a good position for snoring or sleep apnea, the benefits don’t extend much further.
Unfortunately, sleeping on your stomach can cause both neck and back pain. It’s also been shown to be one of the positions that can cause the most weight gain because of its after-effects. It can also add a lot of unnecessary strain to your muscles and joints, which is why you might be waking up sore and tired. Placing a pillow under your lower belly might help reduce back pain.
3: 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 rest, 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