One of the factors that impact weight loss is getting adequate sleep. If you are experiencing insomnia and don’t get enough sleep, or your sleep is frequently interrupted, the stress resulting from that will make it more difficult to lose weight. Roughly 15% of the population has difficulty getting to sleep, or staying asleep. Finding a way to cure or relieve your insomnia can help you on your weight loss journey.
“A new study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that adults should sleep eight to nine hours per night to help maintain a healthy weight.”
Curing Insomnia At Home
Whether you can aid your insomnia at home depends on the cause. For many people, stress and insomnia become a vicious cycle. Stress leads to poor sleep, which leads to more stress.
Meditation Can Help Sleep
If this is the case for you, one of the solutions to try is meditation. Meditating before bed seems to be very effective for some cases of insomnia. We’ve already discussed in another article how meditation helps weight loss. Just 10 to 15 minutes of meditation before bed may be enough to calm your mind and put you in a better state for restful sleep.
The Right Food Can Help
Although we generally discourage eating before bed, some people find their sleep is helped by a little of something in their stomach. The first thing to try, if you drink milk, is a glass of warm milk before bed. This age-old remedy works well for some people. If milk isn’t effective for you, a very small amount of starchy carbohydrate might be helpful. Try eating half of a small boiled potato, or a couple of bites of sweet potato, for example. Carbohydrates promote serotonin production, which may help you feel sleepy. A handful of nuts can also be a good choice. Keep the quantity very small.
Watch Out For Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine is an enemy of sleep for most people. If you’re going to drink coffee, limit it to one or two cups at most, in the morning. Caffeine later in the day is an invitation to insomnia. Remember that many teas, hot chocolate, and even chocolate contain caffeine, so if you’re struggling with sleep, don’t consume them late in the afternoon or evening. Caffeine-free herbal tea is a good choice in the evening, and a good choice for weight loss too. Some people swear by chamomile tea to help sleep.
Supplements Can Support Sleep
Magnesium is probably the first supplement to consider if sleep is an issue. Many people are deficient, and correcting that can help with sleep, relaxation and coping with stress. Taking vitamin D in the mornings during the winter may also be helpful. Some people find a low dose of melatonin helps. Valerian root is also associated with aiding sleep. Of course, you should check with your doctor before adding any new supplement.
Avoid Using Alcohol To Get To Sleep
“Alcohol may suppress the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep state that’s critical to a good night’s sleep.”
– Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H, R.D., Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont
Although some people find that alcohol relaxes them, and so try a drink (or a few) to get to sleep, there is evidence that alcohol has a negative effect on the quality of sleep. It’s also important to avoid any habitual alcohol consumption when you’re trying to lose weight, since there are a lot of empty calories in every glass.
Don’t Forget Exercise
Exercise, particularly in the outdoors, can be very helpful in supporting sleep. Try a twenty-minute walk after dinner for a very easy way of beginning an exercise routine.
Medical Conditions That May Cause Insomnia
Sometimes there’s an underlying medical condition that is causing your insomnia, and there’s no home cure that can help. In that case, you’ll have to work with your doctor to find a solution. Here are some of the medical conditions that may cause insomnia:
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Thyroid Disfunction
- Kidney Disorders
- Heart problems
- Celiac Disease
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
- Iron deficiency
- Sleep Apnea
Prescription medications can also be a factor, so if you’re working with your doctor to identify the causes of insomnia, be sure they are considered.