Sleep Your Way To A Healthier Weight
Most of us know that to be successful at weight loss, we should eat less and exercise more, but in addition to exercise, there may be one more thing we need to do more of… sleep. Research suggests there may be a link between how much sleep we get and how much we weigh. Although the reasons are not yet fully understood, some studies suggest that lack of sleep may throw our hormones off balance, specifically the hormones that impact hunger and fullness, leading to increased calorie intake. In addition, those who are sleep deprived may lack the energy needed to get to the gym each day and reach for high-calorie, low-nutrient, caffeinated beverages such as soda, energy drinks or flavored coffees, to get them through the day.
So how much sleep do you need? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep needs vary from person to person based on a variety of factors. Below are general sleep guidelines agreed on by most sleep experts, however, the NSF recommends paying attention to your own individual needs by assessing how you feel on different amounts of sleep.
Newborns (0-2 months): 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months): 14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 years): 12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours
School Age Children (5-10 years): 10-11 hours
Teens (11-17 years): 8.5-9.5 hours
Adults (18 +): 7-9 hours
So in addition to eating right and regular exercise, for general health and a healthy weight, don’t overlook the importance of getting enough sleep. To help you get a good night’s sleep, the NSF suggests these tips:
- Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time each day
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
- Exercise daily
- Keep your bedroom free of distractions, dark, quiet and cool (between 60-67 degrees)