(HealthDay)—Did you know that the key to your "dream diet" may be as close as your bedroom?
Along with cutting calories and adding exercise, getting enough sleep is important to fight weight gain. Sure, you can't eat if you're asleep. But there's more to it than that.
Studies show that sleep deprivation increases the hormone that stimulates the appetite and lowers the one that tells your brain you're satisfied. So, sleepy people really may feel more hunger than those who are rested, and they tend to reach for comfort foods, too, like those rich in fat and carbs.
Most adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a night, with some people needing up to nine, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But, between work, the house, and the kids, how do you "turn off the day" and get more Zzzzzs?
- Exercise regularly, but do it several hours before hitting the sack so you have time to wind down.
- Create a tranquil bedtime ritual, like soaking in a warm bath or listening to soothing music.
- Do, however, avoid having a nightcap since alcohol can interfere with sleep—a mug of herbal tea would be better.
- And set the stage: Make your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable, with no gadgets or electronics of any kind.
Those are some examples of good sleep hygiene, steps that should make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
And remember, getting the rest you need will make you better able to take on the day—and maybe even the scale.
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The National Sleep Foundation has more tips for good sleep.