More sleep: Could it wake up your weight loss?

Sweet slumber could be a missing ingredient in your weight-control plan. 

It’s no secret that healthy eating and regular exercise are keys to managing the number on the scale. But it turns out that many of us may be missing out on one more smart habit that can help us stay trim: a good night’s sleep.

What does sleep have to do with weight?

Skimping on shut-eye may put a damper on your metabolism — your body’s calorie-burning furnace. And have you ever noticed that when you’re tired you have more trouble sticking with your healthy eating plans? Lack of sleep can also affect hormones that control appetite — and make it harder to make good decisions.

Of course, the solution seems obvious: Just climb under the covers a little earlier — and aim for a solid seven or eight hours of slumber.

But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. If you regularly miss out on a good night’s sleep, it may be time to make a few changes. Get in the mood to snooze with these tips:

Be steady to bed and steady to rise. Try to turn in and get up at about the same time every day — at least as much as possible. This helps your body establish a sleep-wake schedule.

Create an oasis. Make your bedroom dark, quiet, cool and comfortable.

Give yourself time to unwind. Turn off the TV and computer well before bedtime — and do something relaxing. You might take a warm bath. Or listen to some soothing music.

Tweak your fitness routine. Regular exercise can help you sleep better.* Just don’t schedule your workout in the few hours before bedtime. It may leave you too revved up to nod off easily.

Be alert to sleep disrupters. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, avoid it after midday. And keep in mind that both nicotine and alcohol can affect sleep quality.

Another tip: Try limiting fluids before bed. This may save you trips to the bathroom during the night.

Speak up for better rest

If you’re still having trouble sleeping — or want more help finding lasting weight-loss solutions — hypnosis can help. Also important: if you snore heavily or sleep all night but still wake up unrested, talk with your doctor. These may be signs of a sleep disorder that could put your health at risk. 

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