Can you use sleep as part of a weight-loss plan?

Can you use sleep as part of a weight-loss plan?

Getting enough sleep is essential to successful weight loss. Sleep is often overlooked by dieters, but a wealth of scientific research supports the theory that people who get little sleep are at increased risk of being overweight or obese. As a knock-on effect, poor sleep can lead people to be less active and snack more, often reaching for sugary or fatty foods as a pick-me-up. Here are a few tips from the doctor and nutritionist Laurence Plumey to improve the chances of successful weight loss.

Get at least seven hours’ sleep per night

A recently published American study found that missing out on full nights of sleep — of at least seven hours — was linked to an increased consumption of sugary drinks and foods, as well as a higher risk of obesity. It’s important to listen to the body’s cues and head to bed with the first yawn of the evening, recommends Laurence Plumey. There’s no shame in going to bed at 10:30pm, she continues, otherwise you risk losing out on 1½ hours of sleep before the next cycle.

Still, some people naturally need more sleep than others, and this genetic trait should be taken into account. As the specialist explains, if you wake up on great form after five hours’ sleep, then maybe you’re someone who just doesn’t need much shut-eye.

Make the most of natural daylight

It isn’t always widely known, but spending days in rooms with low lighting levels and doing activities under artificial light dips into the body’s reserves of melatonin, a hormone that allows the onset of sleep. Preventing this process during the day causes the body to secrete of higher levels of melatonin in the evening, which can favor refreshing, quality sleep. Detrimental light from screens can be toned down in the evenings by downloading a free program like F.lux, giving the light a yellow tinge for a softer effect.

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