Did you know that bet­ter zzzs can help you lose weight? Here are five ways to help shape up your sleep and slim down!

Diabetic Living - - Slim-down Special -

There’s a lot to love about get­ting a good night’s sleep. In ad­di­tion to boost­ing your mood, “stud­ies show a strong link be­tween sleep deficit and the devel­op­ment or wors­en­ing of di­a­betes”, says Pro­fes­sor Michael Hens­ley from John Hunter Hos­pi­tal in NSW. “And too lit­tle sleep in­creases your risk of weight gain due to changes in hor­mones that can in­crease both fat stor­age and ap­petite.”

To help you nod off faster and en­joy a bet­ter night’s rest, try these sleep-friendly so­lu­tions be­fore bed­time.

1 Get mov­ing!

Stud­ies show that get­ting reg­u­lar ex­er­cise leads to sound sleep and a slim­mer waist­line. One of the best ways to get re­sults is to give in­ter­val train­ing a try. “Al­ter­nat­ing pe­ri­ods of high­in­ten­sity ex­er­cise with low helps the body pro­duce cat­e­cholamines – chem­i­cals that turn on the body’s fat-burn­ing process,” says As­soc Prof Boutcher. For tips on adding in­ter­vals to your work­out, turn to page 80.

2 Turn off tech­nol­ogy

Ac­cord­ing to Siob­han Banks, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of South Aus­tralia’s Cen­tre for Sleep Re­search, the bright lights in your com­puter can in­ter­fere with your body’s abil­ity to pro­duce mela­tonin – a hor­mone that helps to fa­cil­i­tate sleep. Her tip? Avoid com­puter use for sev­eral hours be­fore bed­time. And avoid other dis­trac­tions by switch­ing off your mo­bile phone and tablet, too.

3 Have an early din­ner

Eat­ing about four hours be­fore bed­time is an­other way of safe­guard­ing your zzzs, as hav­ing late meals can raise your body tem­per­a­ture, which in turn af­fects your abil­ity to fall asleep. In ad­di­tion, cut­ting back on late din­ners can help you avoid

the in­di­ges­tion that comes with lay­ing down on a full stom­ach, ex­plains di­eti­tian Me­lanie McGrice.

4 Keep your cool

En­sur­ing that your bed­room is cool and dark will help to en­hance the qual­ity of your sleep. Switch off any elec­tric blan­kets you may use, re­move any ex­tra lay­ers of cloth­ing be­fore you hit the hay, and fur­ther make sure that there’s no light com­ing in from the street. It’s also good to have a relaxing soak in a warm – not hot – bath close to your bed­time. “The warmth ac­tu­ally causes a tem­per­a­ture drop, which can help sleep on­set,” ex­plains Banks.

5 En­joy an al fresco brekkie

“A morn­ing dose of sun­light helps syn­chro­nise your hor­mones with light and dark, so that you get tired in the evening and have more alert­ness in the morn­ing,” ex­plains Banks. Win-win!

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