HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS SURVIVAL GUIDE: SLEEP

December 2, 2016

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blog_holidayseries1Americans are notorious for not getting enough quality sleep, but it’s especially true during the holiday season. Between the demands and stress of holiday entertaining, family visits, gift shopping, and parties galore – on top of the routine day-to-day activities – it’s no wonder we feel like walking zombies come January 2nd. Getting solid quality sleep is important for so many reasons, but when it comes to weight loss, it is absolutely essential.

 

In this first part of our Holiday Weight Loss Survival Guide series, like a warm down comforter, we have you covered on the basics of getting the sleep you need during stressful times.

The point here is not to be a scrooge when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Our goal, as always, is to provide you with as much information as possible to help you make the best decisions for your personal weight loss strategy. For instance, research has shown a clear connection between low-quality sleep and eating behavior. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants getting 4 hours of sleep or less consumed 300 more calories per day than those receiving 8 hours or more. In another study analyzing the relationship between food choices and sleep, researchers found that sleep deprived individual were much more likely to choose junk food over healthier options.

So, let’s get to it. Here are some good sleep hygiene tips that will help keep you off the naughty list:

  • Try to keep as consistent a sleep schedule as possible, which means going to bed and rising at the same times every day. If you’re at a holiday party that looks like it could go late, really ask yourself if it’s worth losing the shuteye over.
  • Most people turn to online shopping these days for convenience and holiday deals. But be sure to shut the laptop down at least one hour before going to bed. The lights from computer and phone screens have been shown to interfere with quality sleep. This also goes for unplugging holiday lights. They may be beautiful and hung with care, but they work against you while you sleep.
  • Beware the alcohol, which prevents you from getting that deep sleep your body needs to work properly for weight loss. Again, it may be flowing at your holiday shindigs, but think hard about what that extra glass of bubbly might do to your dreamtime.
  • Like alcohol, avoid caffeine and heavy meals at least two hours before hitting the sheets.
  • The holiday season is a time when many retailers hire part-time employees to handle the seasonal rush. This may mean working during shifts that interfere with a good bedtime routine. If your work pushes your time for sleep into daylight hours, make sure you have drapes or curtains that block out the sun.

Maybe most importantly, if you aren’t able to maintain the perfect sleeping behavior during the holidays, don’t beat yourself up! Just remember how much you have to be thankful for, including your internal strength to dust yourself off and move on from setbacks.

 

We wish you sweet dreams this holiday season, and a well-rested happy new year!

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