Research suggests that you need seven to nine hours of sleep a night to lose weight and keep it off. Bazaar dug into the concept to find out if it actually works and how you could make it happen.Shouldn't more waking hours equal more calories burned?
Actually, no. "Sleep is a very dynamic aspect of our day," says New York City nutritionist Oz Garcia, Ph.D. " The body reboots every aspect of metabolic function. The brain produces critical messenger molecules, or neuropeptides, that play a vital role in weight regulation. If you don't get seven to nine hours of sleep regularly, there appears to be a cumulative effect. After a while, those neuropeptides - and beyond that, neurotransmitters - can't do their job."What if I can't sleep?
More than 60 million Americans suffer from a variety of sleep disorders. "Insomnia is believed to be as much as three times more common in women," says Michael Twery, Ph.D., director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research. See your doctor to determine whether there is a medical cause that can be treated.Can't I just take a sleeping pill?
That will help you physically log the requisite hours in bed, but it might not give you the quality of sleep you need to manage your weight.So how can I catch more z's?
- Reduce or eliminate sugar and caffeine.
- No booze before bedtime.
- No late-night meals.
- No TV just before lights out.
- Warm baths can help, as can meditation and deep-breathing exercises.
- Take your multivitamins: Garcia often prescribes 5-HTP, calcium, and magnesium.
Have you ever found that changing your nighttime habits helped you lose weight?
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