Get Enough Sleep, Shed Pounds

Humans require sleep to live. Some may seem to need more than others.

Better-night-sleep-memeAs a kid, I never understood why I had to go to bed in the summer when it was still light out. I would whine and complain to my mother, arguing that it made no sense to be in bed when it was still daytime! As an adult and working in the fitness and nutrition industry for well over a decade I have a much better understanding of the need for sleep and sleep timing and its role in weight loss.There is truth to the old adage, get your beauty sleep!

Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is imperative to a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that what you do before bed can actually help with your weight-loss goals?

Dare we say… Dairy? Yes!

One bedtime habit that has been known to lull your body into a restful night’s sleep is a cup of hot milk before bed. However, studies show that any type of dairy before bed can actually help you build more muscle as you sleep.

If you get a good night sleep it is more likely that you will follow through with workout routines planned for the day and you will have enough energy to carry out your daily demands.

Dairy contains casein, a form of protein that is slow to break down, which can keep your muscles fueled with amino acids and help build lean muscle as you sleep. Remember, that muscle gain is one of the top ways to burn calories and increase your metabolism! So tonight, reach for that milk or yogurt before bed and reach your weight-loss goals even faster.

Yet another benefit of drinking a hot cup of milk before going to bed is the release of the hormone melatonin that it promotes. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep rhythms, it does so by helping us determine the difference between night and day. Higher melatonin levels make you sleepier and promote a good night rest. Which is extremely important given that a good night rest is associated with the sufficient energy levels required by daily demands and has an effect on appetite.

If you get a good night sleep it is more likely that you will follow through with workout routines planned for the day and you will have enough energy to carry out your daily demands.

Sleeping under four hours has also shown to have an effect on reducing leptin and increasing ghrelin, two “hunger hormones” that control appetite. Leptin is made in response to fat levels in your body, more fat equals more leptin, and has an inhibiting effect of appetite.

Ghrelin is released by cell of the gastrointestinal tract in response to an empty stomach and promotes appetite. By getting enough sleep you are ensuring that your levels of these two hormones are desirable and helping you in your weight loss goals rather than preventing them.


Yoga is the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone when it comes to night routines. By doing some yoga stretches before you go to bed not only are you exercising and promoting better fitness, but you reducing your overall stress levels which will help you sleep. Yoga is associated with reduced stress and anxiety, which often comes hand-in-hand with a busy lifestyle and poor fitness levels. The acute-stress response is associated with high levels of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine, which promote alertness, unrest and even anxiety.

Another word for epinephrine is adrenaline, a hormone that most of us have experienced in the face of danger or as a reflex, it increases heart rate significantly. Norepinephrine is a hormone associated with vigilance and even anxiety. Since stress is the primary cause of these hormones during night hours, taking steps to reduce their levels is a good plan for ensuring your beauty sleep. Plus the yoga adds to your daily exercise! Win-Win.

Cut out the late-night snacking

Late night snacking is what often kills any attempts at keeping a diet, and at maintaining our weight loss goals. To help control this, it is a good plan to make a food journal that you will review at night. This way you can keep track of your daily calorie intake and ensure that your are eating the right food, which obviously helps in reaching your fitness goals. Keeping a journal will help you ‘realize’ how much of what type of calorie you are consuming and when.

Another good tip to stay away from late night snacking is to brush your teeth soon after dinner. It is less likely that you will be willing to have a snack if it means repeating a step that you have already taken in preparing for bed. The mint flavors on most kinds of toothpaste also have an effect in satisfying your late night cravings.


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