Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sleep Your Way Slim

I know what you're thinking: How can I possibly lose weight by lying down? Believe me, as the type of person who likes to squeeze the most out of every second of each day, I was skeptical, too. But the research that supports the connection between getting a good night's sleep and fitting into your favorite jeans is pretty convincing.

In a study of more than 68,000 women, those who slept seven hours a night weighed 5.5 pounds less than women who slept five hours or less. Turns out, ample shut-eye encourages your body to produce more of the fullness hormone leptin and less of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Plus, catching zzz's helps curb anxiety and depression, both of which can be a tripwire for emotional eating. Insufficient rest can even compromise moral judgment, according to the journal Sleep.

Now, aiming to hit the sack early and actually doing it are two different things. There are always a million and one excuses to stay awake (I tend to read way past my bedtime). Try these tips to help you catch up on your zzzzzz's.

  • Instead of trying to adhere to a strict lights-out policy every night, aim to get in bed early at least one night per week.
  • Ease yourself into your slumber session with a bath.
  • Eating a carb-based mini-meal of no more than 200 calories 45 minutes before drifting off can raise serotonin levels, helping you relax and sleep well. Try a whole-wheat English muffin with a tablespoon of honey or a cup of instant oatmeal with 1/4 cup of chopped apple.
Turn in earlier and look forward to sweet dreams (of a fitter, more fabulous you, of course!)

By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief - Posted on Tue, Jul 22, 2008, 5:36 pm PDT

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