When we snuggle into bed at night to get our 8 hours, we usually aren’t thinking too deeply on what our bathroom scale will tell us in the morning. Unfortunately, some of our nightly habits can be devastating to our waistline, and leave us puzzling as to how we got those added pounds.
If you’re not sure, here are ten bedtime mistakes that make us gain weight at night that you may well be guilty of. Read on:
1. Not getting enough sleep
You might think the only drawback to not getting enough sleep is dark circles under your eyes and a need for more coffee in the morning. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep can also make you gain more weight. Those who regularly miss out on their 8 hours tend to have a slow metabolism, which makes all those calories even more problematic than usual. Lack of sleep is a classic bedtime mistake, and one too many people fall victim to.
If you have trouble sleeping, you can resolve the issue by going to bed earlier, avoiding caffeine before bed, and not using a screen at least 2 hours before sleeping.
2. Midnight snacking
You might not remember that Oreos you snacked on at 2 AM when you got up to use the restroom, but your waistline sure will. Midnight snacks are bad for you in a lot of ways. Your sleeping body isn’t primed for digestion, and the snacks we tend to eat when we are still sleepy, and inhibitions are low aren’t the healthy kinds. If you absolutely must snack through the night, leave yourself readily available healthy snacks like raw vegetables and dip, so you don’t have to think about what to grab.
3. Late night coffee
You already know caffeine is a big bedtime mistake, but even decaf coffee is one of the worst drinks you can have right before bed. Scientists have linked chlorogenic acid, which is found in coffee, with weight gain. If you’re trying to avoid piling on more pounds, switch to herbal tea in the evenings. Chamomile tea is an excellent choice because not only does it contain almost no calories, its calming properties will prepare you for sleep.
4. Using electronic devices in the bedroom
Electronic devices are bad for a restful night’s sleep. The blue light from most screen’s backlight burns through melatonin, preventing you from getting those precious 8 hours. Screens also keep our brains active, so you don’t have the necessary time to wind down for sleep. To avoid this, read a book or some other quiet activity before bed, and save the screen time for the morning. Your body will thank you.
5. Not getting enough sunlight before bed
While most of us do associate sitting around on the couch with weight gain, it may surprise you to learn it isn’t just the lack of activity that makes it a bedtime mistake. Your body needs sunlight to help it balance circadian rhythms, manufacturer vitamin D, and prepare for both day and night. Without sunlight, your body can get confused and assume that the lack of sun is due to winter. For thousands of years, our body has learned to associate winter with lean times and lack of food, and so shortened days actually cause our body to store more fat. Not a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight.
6. Bedroom décor that does not promote sleep
If your bedroom décor that does not promote sleep then consider it as another bedtime mistake. Those cheerful yellow walls may make you feel happy when you wake up, but they’re not the best for promoting quality sleep. Since we know how important sleep is to avoiding weight gain, it makes sense to create a room as restful as possible. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, consider a fresh coat of paint—in blue. This color is thought to promote sleep naturally.
7. Sleeping with the light on
Your body follows it’s a circadian rhythm in order to determine when to feel sleepy, and when to be alert. Certain things can mess with that cycle, including sleeping with the lights on. This is another bedtime mistake done by many people. The added light can trick your body into thinking it is daytime, making for fewer hours of sleep, and what hours you do get being of poor quality. Shut the lights off when you go to sleep, and forgo those nightlights as well. You’ll experience better sleep and wake up more refreshed than you ever did before.
8. Not working out
Exercise during the day is important not just for burning a few extra calories, but also to prepare you to sleep better at night. People who work out tend to sleep deeper and more soundly. They also experience a boost in endorphins, which gives mood a boost and may help reduce the desire for comfort foods. Let’s face it, after getting out there and doing something to reduce weight gain; we often do feel more inspired to eat a healthier meal as well.
9. Don’t go to sleep hungry
You’ve probably heard that it is better for your health to avoid eating a big meal right before bed. It’s also important not to starve yourself either. Not only will those hunger pains potentially keep you up at night, but you’ll also probably wake up making poor food choices the next day. It’s hard to choose a serving of fresh fruit and a hydrating glass of water when your calorie starved body is overwhelmed with the desire for bacon and eggs. To avoid this bedtime mistake, choose a snack for before bed when you aren’t hungry, such as right after dinner.
10. Create a bedtime routine
Kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from a bedtime routine. When we form habits associated with sleep, they can help us get ready for rest and fall asleep faster. They can also help us avoid unhealthy bedtime snacks, by replacing these bad habits with better choices. If your bedtime routine already includes a nice healthy snack and an hour with a good book, you’re less likely to sneak in a Twinkie or three right before bed.
Losing weight can be a difficult battle, and the battle only gets harder at night when your defenses are down. To help keep that bathroom scale on a downward trend, follow these 10 tips to avoid bedtime mistakes and achieve a healthier lifestyle.
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