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Can Sleep Cause Weight Gain?

Here Are 7 Mistakes You May Be Making While You Snooze

Most weight-conscious individuals understand how a poor diet or a sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain. What most people don’t know, however, is that sleep can also contribute to weight gain. How? Let’s look at seven mistakes you could be making that lead to unnecessary weight gain.

Late Dinners and Pre-bed Snacks

Snacking can be a great way to relax and unwind before falling asleep, but this late-night indulging could be getting in the way of healthy, satisfying sleep. Eating can raise your insulin levels. Sleeping with heightened insulin levels can interfere with the production of melatonin (the hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles) and a growth hormone necessary to boost your body’s cells. To avoid interrupted sleep from eating late, try to avoid foods three hours before your bedtime—and yes, this includes snacks!

Light Exposure

If you are afraid of the dark, it is time to grow up. Even the slightest exposure to light can interfere with sleep and cause weight gain. Before turning in for the night, make sure all lights in your room are turned off, and the curtains are shut. It may not seem like a big deal, but even the light from a street lamp outside your window can interrupt the release of melatonin and growth hormones. Lights in the bedroom can also increase the production of cortisol, a hormone connected to increased weight gain in your abdomen. To ensure you avoid this excess weight gain, turn your cell phone and all electronics off an hour before lights out.

Drinking Late

While drinking water can help with weight loss, it can also hinder weight loss and instead be responsible for weight gain. How? Hydrating and drinking plenty of water during the day is essential, but as it nears bedtime, it is more important to put the water down. Drinking too much before bedtime can cause you to wake up frequently to use the bathroom throughout the night. This disturbance in sleep can hinder your natural sleep patterns and cause weight gain. A disruption in sleep patterns has even been linked to obesity. Stop drinking two hours before bedtime to ensure you get a whole night’s rest without a bathroom run.

Late Night Exercise

You may be wondering how exercise can lead to weight gain. This issue isn’t necessarily with working out; instead, the problem arises when you work out too late at night. Exercising causes your body temperature to rise and, in turn, curb the release of melatonin. Exercising is also linked to releasing hormones stimulated by activity such as cortisol and dopamine. The best time to exercise is in the morning, but if you must work out at night, make sure you do so no later than three hours before bed.

Late Night Electronics

This is very similar to the need to sleep in complete darkness. While reading a book on your tablet or watching a movie may seem like a great way to relax and unwind before bed, it can disrupt your sleep. Electronic gadgets such as smartphones, TVs, and laptops are known to stimulate cortisol and dopamine, and we should all know by now the negative impact these hormones can have on a restful night’s sleep.

Warm Bedroom Temperatures

Remember why late-night exercise is not conducive to a good night’s sleep? Keeping your bedroom too warm can have a similar effect. For your body to optimally release melatonin and growth hormones while burning fat in the process, your body must remain cool. If your room is warm, your body’s temperature will become elevated, and you will not sleep as well. So instead, make sure the environment in your sleep is kept around 70 Fahrenheit.

Clothes vs. No Clothes

Have you ever been told by one of your grandparents or maybe even your parents that it is healthier to sleep in the nude? While this may seem like an odd recommendation from a family member, they are correct. No matter what type of clothes you may be wearing to bed, if they are tight or heavy, the clothing is most likely uncomfortable and can raise your body temperature. So if you are not uncomfortable sleeping in your birthday suit, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.

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