Quality Sleep Is So Important
- A new study involving more than 1,600 adults found that people who slept six hours a night had more belly fat than those who slept for nine hours. In addition, they weighed more and had lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the heart-healthy “good cholesterol”). This was true even though the sleep-deprived people didn’t eat unhealthier diets.
- An earlier study found that shorting sleep for just a few nights in a row can lead to immediate weight gain.
- A startling study in 2012 revealed that restricting the sleep of healthy young people for just four nights decreased the sensitivity of their fat cells to insulin by 30%, leading to levels typically seen in obese or diabetic people. One of the researchers commented, "This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years."
- A recent study involving more than 4,000 children found that kids who get too little sleep weigh more and have a higher percentage of fat mass. Worse yet, these children have higher blood sugar levels and greater insulin resistance—both risk factors for diabetes.
- Set a regular bedtime—for both kids and adults. It’s fine to fudge a little on the weekends, but otherwise, try to turn in at the same time each night. Research suggests that simply sticking to a bedtime schedule can actually lower your body fat.
- Make Epsom salt baths a habit. The magnesium in Epsom salt is one of Mother Nature’s best “sleepy medicines.” Putting a little lavender oil in your bath water can also help mellow you out.
- Turn off devices at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from these devices can mess with your melatonin levels. If you can’t bring yourself to turn them off, invest in blue light-blocking glasses.
- Meditate. Fifteen or twenty minutes of mindful meditation can ease your brain into a restful state.
- Darken your room. Install blackout curtains to get rid of light pollution, and turn your alarm clock away from the bed so the light it emits doesn’t shine in your face.
- Experiment with a “white noise” machine. Many people find these highly effective.
- Chill out. Keep your room between 65 and 72 degrees. Also, try sleeping with a fan on. (The “white noise” from the fan can also help to mask other sounds.)
- Do strenuous exercise in the morning or afternoon—not at night. Exercising vigorously before bedtime can rev you up, making it hard to doze off. Instead, try some gentle yoga stretches.
- Make a to-do list. This will help you clear your mind before bedtime.
- Indulge in high-quality bedding. The right pillows, sheets, and blankets can make a huge difference in how comfy you feel at night.
- Drink bone broth in the evening. Bone broth is rich in calming, relaxing glycine and magnesium.
- Consider taking melatonin. A little dose of this supplement before bedtime may help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
Try these tricks, and I’m betting that you and your family members will fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. As a result, you’ll all be happier, more energetic, and more clear-headed when you wake up… and you’ll all be shrinking that belly fat and protecting yourself against diabetes and heart disease as well!
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!