Want to lose the unwanted flab from your body? Then you must change your bedtime habits.Because 1. it is scientifically proven that good sleep can aid weight loss and 2. habits define you and your life. Lack of proper sleep can lead to insulin resistance, increase stress and hunger hormone levels, and slow metabolism – leading to weight gain (1). And the best solution to safeguard yourself from obesity-related health issues is to change your bedtime habits. In this article, I have strategically created a bedtime ritual that will help you sleep better to shed the extra pounds. Here’s what you got to do.
So, you have finished your day’s work and left with just enough energy to have dinner and sleep. But you end up staying up late. One of the reasons for this is that though your brain is overworked, your body isn’t. And of course the distractions. In order to help your brain and body sync, down to get some exercise – dance, swim, run, brisk walk, strength train etc. before you have your dinner. Exercising will not only mobilize the fat but also improve brain function and reaction time, help you fall asleep quickly, strengthen your muscles, reduce stress, and bring a healthy glow on your face. Make sure to have a protein shake 1 hour before you exercise. You can also have a protein shake post workout but only if you are not able to get enough protein from the whole foods in your diet.
Worrying too much can also lead to insomnia. When you are stressed out, the cortisol levels are way too high leading to oxidative stress and inflammation. But the great news is that you can eat foods that can reduce the cortisol levels. And no, I am not talking about the “comfortably unhealthy food”. Consume foods that are rich in an amino acid, L-tryptophan that plays a vital role in the synthesis of serotonin or the “feel good” hormone (2). Have skinless chicken breast, turkey, tofu, and nuts for dinner along with other healthy foods to help keep your hunger pangs away and increase the serotonin levels. The less you feel anxious and worried, the better sleep you are going to get.
Consume Cottage Cheese/Cheese
Cottage cheese and any other cheese are also rich in L-tryptophan. Moreover, they are also loaded with casein, which has also been found to promote quality sleep. So, add cheese to your dinner so that you have healthy comfort food, help your body and brain rest, reduce stress levels, and wake up fresh in the morning.
Switch Off Mobile, TV, Laptop
Mobile, TV, laptop, X-box etc. are all the distractions I was talking about. We are all addicted to our mobiles and it is as dangerous as any other drug. What you can do is finish up your work in the office to avoid staying up till late in the night. Make a routine where you give yourself 30 mins time to check YouTube, Netflix, FB, Instagram or play games on X box. And then shut the electronic gadgets and do things that will help you release the stress.
Make Your Bed
Have you ever noticed how a well made, clean, and comfortable bed could invite you? A well-made bed relaxes the brain and induces better sleep. Use clean bedsheets and pillow cover. Use a mattress that doesn’t give you a backache and the pillows should be not too soft or too hard. You can also use a body pillow to rest your leg on. Make your bed by tucking the edges of the bed sheet under the mattress. Now, fold a comforter and keep it on the bed to use it if needed. Also, choose light-colored cotton bed sheets and pillow covers.
Ever tried a foot soak before bed? Just use lukewarm water and add a little salt and 3 drops of lavender essential oil and soak your feet for 10 minutes. You can move your feet up and down to contract and release your calves. You can also use plastic foot rollers to release the stress from the foot sole. Do this regularly to induce sleep, or you can follow the next steps.
Take A Shower
Yes, if foot soak is not so helpful to you, you can try taking a shower before bed. You can use Epsom salt and essential oils and just relax in the bathtub or take a quick lukewarm water shower. Use a subtle smelling body wash and massage your body as your clean up. Use a moisturizer after showering so your body is not dry and itchy. This will help your body to cool down and is an effective stress reliever.
After you have taken a shower or soaked your feet, you must give yourself a foot massage. Dab moisturizer all over your foot and then use medium pressure and circular motions to apply the moisturizer. Use your knuckles to massage the soles of your feet. Hold your toe in between your fingers and move your foot up and down to feel the stretch. Do this for 5 minutes. Wear a thin sock to prevent your foot from accumulating dirt.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
After you massage your feet, choose comfortable bedtime clothes made of pure cotton or satin. This will help you breathe properly and will allow you to move freely on the bed while you sleep. Never wear tight clothes or clothes that may cause itching.
Allow Ventilation In Bedroom
Your bedroom should be well ventilated. The temperature should not be too cold or hot. Keep the door and windows open for a while before going to bed.
If your room does not have good ventilation, you may use essential oils or mild room fresheners to set the “sleep mood” in your room. You can add few drops of essential oil to your pillow or to a bowl of water and keep it on your bedside table. Aromatherapy will not only help you fall asleep but will also keep your hunger pangs at bay.
Practice Bedtime Yoga
Feeling sore after a day’s work, cardio, and strength training? Try bedtime yoga. Practicing yoga before bed will not only get rid of the muscle pain but also help you be able to unlock the stress caused by negativity, worry, and the day’s chaos cluttered inside your head. And this is important for you to sleep better, lose weight, and focus on positive and important things in life.
Maintain A Journal
Instead of typing away on your laptop or watching rigmarole videos online, go old school – maintain a diary. Write about your day or how you feel about losing weight. You can also log your progress, prepare a business plan or just doodle! Give your eyes rest so that you get a better shut-eye.
Drink Warm Milk
I do it all the time, and it works! Drink one cup of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric before bed. You will sleep like a baby and wake up fresh like a flower! Milk is rich in L-tryptophan, but there is no scientific evidence that L-tryptophan from milk can help reduce stress and increase the serotonin levels. Casein may be responsible for the sleep-inducing property. If you are lactose intolerant, try drinking warm almond milk.
Close The Kitchen
Now that you have had your glass of warm milk, it’s time to shut shop. Clean the kitchen tabletop and turn off the lights in the kitchen area. If you don’t get into this habit, there will always be something you would want to eat. And late night snacking can contribute to a lot of weight gain without you even realizing it. After you close your kitchen here’s what you must do.
Use The Washroom
Yes, use the washroom before finally retiring to your bed. The urge to use the washroom can also hamper your sleep and keep you awake. Also, do not forget to brush your teeth. This also helps to curb hunger.
Head straight to your bedroom and crawl up on your bed and feel comfortable. Place the pillow and the body pillow in the right place, pull up the comforter, use hand moisturizer to moisturize your hands, loosely tie your hair or leave it open, apply a lip balm and a night cream. You are all set for the next step!
Read A Book
Reading a book or magazine can help you fall asleep quickly. It will also improve your attention span and vocabulary. Make sure not to read an ebook or check the news on your phone because your eyes need rest. Moreover, your skin also gets affected by the light and radiation from the electronic gadgets.
You will start to feel drowsy and before you finally put your book down, turn off the light. This is important as sleeping in the dark will help your pineal gland release a hormone called melatonin (2). Melatonin helps to relieve stress and improve sleep quality and sleep time (3).
Use Blue Night Light
If you are someone who can’t sleep without a little bit of light, then you can use a blue night lamp. The color blue tends to induce sleep. You may also stare at a blue color paper for better sleep.
So, those were the 20 bedtime habits for better sleep and weight loss. Try to inculcate these habits, and you will start to notice a difference in your energy levels and brain power. You must also eat clean and keep yourself active to lose weight. Make sure you turn these bedtime habits into a ritual, and you are sure to see quick results. Cheers!