“My doctor said I had to get more sleep to lose weight.”
For some reason, most people have a concept of weight loss that involves grueling effort, extreme hunger, and huge restraint. Practically, that’s not going to work, at least not for long. And indeed many weight loss programs do not work, but medical weight loss does.
What we do is provide support and education in lifestyle change as well as in resolving root physical, medical, and psychological causes of weight gain. If your lifestyle doesn’t support healthy eating, you can’t reach your optimal weight and maintain it without choosing to make changes to support that goal.
Today, I’ll discuss some of the easiest changes to make, since they involve getting more sleep. Most of us may well appreciate having the excuse – and you really do need to get enough sleep to lose weight.
Melatonin Supports Sleep and Blood Sugar Control
At Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, researchers have discovered that there may be a connection between melatonin, the hormone that produces sleep, and blood sugar control. When melatonin levels are increased not only does insomnia go down, but your body is better able to use insulin. Insulin is in control of fat storage in your body, so effective insulin metabolism is critical if you want to lose weight.
The researchers say that people with high levels of melatonin are 55% less likely to develop type II diabetes, even when they’re not always careful about diet and exercise.
Let’s explore some ways to sleep to lose weight.
Get To Bed Earlier
Try going to sleep at half hour earlier. An extra half hour of sleep, at the beginning of your sleep cycle, can double your melatonin production within three days.
Snack on Purple Grapes Before Bed
Normally, I don’t recommend eating within three hours of bedtime, but for some people, a cup of purple grapes before bedtime works well to help raise melatonin levels. For others, the extra sugar helps keep them awake. See what works for you. Purple grapes are particularly rich in melatonin, so they’re a good choice if you prefer to avoid taking supplements.
Try a Temporary Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin is a sleep hormone which is created naturally in your body by pineal gland, and in your digestive system. If you’re managing to get to sleep normally, you don’t need to supplement. However, if you’re going to have a major change in your sleep schedule, you’re exposed to jetlag, or you’re over 60 and having trouble sleeping, supplements can help. Typically you will take supplements for up to two weeks. You shouldn’t need to take melatonin on a permanent basis, but it can help get you back to a normal sleep schedule.
This doesn’t mean that you should take large doses of melatonin if you are supplementing with it. Too much melatonin at one time may cause headaches, nausea, dizziness or irritability. In fact, it’s been proven that small doses of 0.3 to 1 mg (taken 20 to 30 minutes before you wish to go to sleep) give the best results.
Add an L-Tryptophan Supplement
An alternative way to increase melatonin in your system is to supplement with L-Tryptophan. Try taking 1000 mg of L-Tryptophan couple of hours before bedtime. Because L-Tryptophan is a key building block of melatonin, it helps you got increase your melatonin output. It also reduces blood sugar surges, which is helpful in keeping appetite under control. Of course, you should consult your physician before adding any new supplement.
Add 15 Minutes of Meditation to Your Day
I’ve written about how meditation helps weight loss before. Only 15 minutes per day of meditation also supports your pineal gland and may improve melatonin production.
Guided Muscle Relaxation Helps the Stressed Sleep
If your insomnia is brought on by stress or anxiety, melatonin probably won’t help, but a technique called guided muscle relaxation might be your perfect solution. To give it a try, listen to this progressive muscle relaxation exercise from sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, just before bed.
Keep the Lights Off If You Wake Up
If you wake up at night, any bright light will reduce your levels of melatonin rapidly. Consider adding dim nightlights so that you can find your way to the bathroom without putting on bright lights. This will make it easier to get back to sleep quickly, and you will experience a better quality of sleep.r
Consult Your Physician
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that if you feel a sleep problem is serious enough to treat, then you should consult your physician. It’s important to understand the cause of your sleep problem and treat it appropriately.