Are you among the third of American adults who have trouble sleeping? If so, there’s a chance it may be worsened by your weight. Excess body fat can have a direct impact on sleep quality for several reasons. Taking some time to focus on overall health interventions and dedicating effort toward losing weight may help you to get a better night’s rest.
How Weight Affects Sleep
It may surprise you to learn that being overweight can affect your sleep quality, but there are actually several ways that excess body fat can impact your sleep. Being overweight can lead to issues like severe snoring and sleep apnea, which means you don’t get the oxygen you need while sleeping. It can also lead to joint problems and pain that can reduce sleep quality.
More directly, a heavier body can make it so that you can’t get comfortable on your mattress. Investing in a mattress with both memory foam and coil springs can make a big difference for larger individuals as it both cushions and supports the body. If you’re on the heavier side and sleeping on an old mattress, simply upgrading to a better mattress may make all the difference in the world.
A Vicious Cycle
One of the most challenging parts of addressing weight and poor sleep is that they create a self-sustaining cycle. In addition to weight gain leading to decreased sleep quality, poor sleep makes you more likely to gain weight. This is because when you don’t get the rest you need, your body is more likely to produce stress hormones, which lead to increased appetite. Moreover, you lack the energy necessary to exercise regularly. Recognizing the hurdle to weight loss that poor sleep presents is the first step to overcoming it. When you know that you’re facing an additional challenge, you can tackle it head-on and address it properly. Here’s a look at a few ways you can lose weight despite your sleeping troubles.
Focus on Diet
Weight loss and sleep quality are both directly affected by what you eat, so try to make sure you’re getting a healthy, well-balanced diet. The simple act of making sure each meal features a fruit or vegetable can lead to weight loss. Produce is filling without being calorically dense, which means you feel less hungry and use up more of the energy you eat.
Another way to promote weight loss is to consume more protein. Adding more protein to your diet can reduce cravings and muscle loss as you lose weight. Some healthy foods high in protein include salmon, chicken, and eggs. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, a protein shake can help, but be sure to look for a shake that’s low in calories and high in essential nutrients.
You can also use food to help your circadian rhythm for better sleep. Try to eat within the first hour after you wake up. This signals your body to start producing awake chemicals and helps it to settle into the right cycles for your sleep schedule. Having smaller meals will help your sleep as well, as you’ll have an easier time resting if you’re not digesting a big, heavy dinner.
You should also increase your water intake. Not only is water a calorie-free option, but it can also act as an appetite suppressant. Drinking more water can boost your metabolism and decrease water retention.
Daily exercise is another intervention that will impact both weight and sleep quality. When you get your 30 minutes of exercise a day, you’re not just burning calories: You’re also burning off excess adrenaline. By working out some of the stress hormones your body produces throughout the day, you’ll help your body discover its natural, un-stressed appetite. This has the dual effect of helping you shed pounds and allowing your mind and body to relax at bedtime. Consider getting a device stand to hold up your cell phone or other devices to keep you from being bored or distracted while you work out.
Simple lifestyle changes will give you a better night’s sleep and help you shed excess weight. By focusing on your diet and exercise and making sure you have a conducive sleep environment, you can get the rest you need to thrive.
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