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What Can You Do to Promote Good Sleep?

The main problem with lack of sleep and weight maintenance is that tiredness influences food choices and behavioral patterns as well as the emotional status of individuals. The other obvious problem is that if you are awake in the middle of the night is that you might end up eating just to keep yourself busy. Your body also does a lot of its “repair and maintenance” during the sleep cycle and therefore good sleeping habits is a prerequisite for weight loss and maintenance. There are two potential concerns here: struggling to fall asleep and struggling to stay asleep. So, what can you do to promote good sleep?

Maintain a regular sleep routine
 
Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day of the week. Your body thrives on routine!

Avoid naps if possible

Naps decrease the ‘Sleep Debt’ that is so necessary for easy sleep onset. Naps might decrease the amount of sleep that we need leading to sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep, which may cause insomnia, partially due to the routine that was disrupted. 

Do not stay in bed awake for more than 10 minutes

Sleep experts suggest that if you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark until you are sleepy, then return to bed. Avoid TV or internet during these periods! That will just stimulate you more than desired.

Do not watch TV or read in bed

For people who has difficulty with sleep, stop watching TV or reading in bed just before falling asleep. Even though you might think it relaxes you and take your mind off the day’s work, research shows it often has the opposite effect.

Avoid caffeine and fluids

The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after consumption. Caffeine can fragment sleep and cause difficulty initiating sleep. Remember that many diet cola drinks, green tea and regular tea contain caffeine as well.  If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon.
Although chamomile tea or milk-based drinks are often recommended before bedtime, fluids consumed shortly before bedtime, eg water, may also cause you to get up at night to empty the bladder and disrupt the sleep.

Avoid substances that can interfere with sleep

Smoking, alcohol and over-the-counter medications may cause fragmented sleep

Exercise regularly

Exercise before 2 pm every day. Exercise promotes continuous sleep.
Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime. Rigorous exercise circulates endorphins into the body that may cause difficulty initiating sleep.
           
Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom

Take stock of your bedroom eg is it a comfortable temperature; does your partner snore; do the pets keep you awake; is the bedroom dark enough (eg electronic clocks / streetlights); is the bedroom quiet enough; is the mattress comfortable; is the bed big enough etc?

Have a pre-bedtime routine

When we fall asleep there is a slight drop in body temperature, therefore a warm bath or shower just before bedtime will naturally assist with this process.
Meditation or quiet time .

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