A lot has been said and written on the importance of a good night’s sleep. However, what people don’t know is that a bad night’s sleep makes you fat. A less than six hours night’s sleep disturbs the level of two hormones, with a decisive role for your appetite: ghrelin and leptin.
People who have a short night’s sleep, have much higher concentrations of appetizing grelin in their blood. Furthermore, the level of the hunger suppressing leptin has lowered. Lack of sleep thus causes more hunger and hunger that furthermore is harder to satisfy. Research shows that people who sleep little or bad have on average a higher BMI.
The following tips will help you to improve your sleep:
- Make sure you have a regular sleeping rhythm of 7 to 8 hours per night. Go to bed at the same time every day, and get up at the same time. Continue to do so even during the weekend. Catching up on sleep will affect your internal clock. People working in shifts are also recommended to find as much as possible a regular rhythm in the working schedule.
- A daily 30 minutes exercise or sport activity will improve the sleeping quality. However, don’t do this just before you go to sleep, but stop sporting intensively at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Have a critical look on what you have done during the evening. Is it really necessary to still answer these work-related e-mails or to read that report? Leave your work at the workplace and try to get some rest during the evening.
- Cafeine coming from coffee, black tea, coca-cola and energy drink will keep you awake. Avoid them if you have difficulties falling asleep.
- Do not eat heavy meals containing proteins and fats up to 3 hours before going to sleep. Your stomach is fully working until that time. If you do want to eat something, take a small portion containing many carbohydrates such as a wholemeal cracker, a handful of nuts or a banana.
- Close your screens one hour before going to sleep and do not take them with you in the bedroom. Perform a relaxing activity and get yourself prepared for the night.
- At about 10.30 p.m. your body will get it highest temperature. After that, the cooling starts, causing the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Do you want to increase this effect? Then take a hot shower 90 minutes before going to sleep, after which your body will cool down even harder and you will get sleepy sooner.
- Go to the toilet during your sleeping ritual. Don’t drink anything one hour before going to sleep, in order to minimize urinating during the night. Do know that alcohol may help to fall asleep, but it will also wake you sooner and it will definitely disrupt the quality of your sleep. One glass of wine during dinner is fine, but do avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed.
- Do you smoke? Try to limit it at night. Nicotin has a stimulating effect.
- The ideal bedroom has a temperature between 18 and 22 degrees C, is well ventilated and calm. Make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillow at the size of your sleeping position. Keep the interior sober so that you do not get distracted when falling asleep.
- Do you spend a lot of time lying awake at night? Get out of your bed after 30 minutes and perform a sleep-inducing activity. Think of folding the laundry, solving a sudoku, reading, knitting. Once you start feeling tired, return to your bed.
- Sunlight wakes you and makes you alert. Make sure you go outside for a while in the morning or have your breakfast close to the window.