1. Get Lots of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can change how your body regulates appetite, leading you to crave more food. It can also change your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which will slow down the number of calories you burn doing basic life-sustaining activities like breathing and maintaining body temperature. People who are sleep deprived tend to exercise less because they feel fatigued; they often also eat more—unhealthful foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates—to boost energy. Being sleep deprived will result in your body seeking to conserve energy and store unwanted belly fat.
Skimping on sleep also dulls the brain’s activity in the frontal lobe—it’s like being drunk! The frontal lobe is the section of the brain that regulates impulse control and decision-making. When you are sleep deprived, you don’t have the mental clarity to make sound decisions.
Here are some techniques to ensure a better night’s sleep:
- Create a bedtime ritual like meditation, reading, showering, or bathing.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule by waking up and going to bed at the same time.
- Turn the lights off. The darkness will cause your body to release melatonin, which is your natural sleep hormone. Having the lights on will suppress this hormone.
- For at least an hour before bedtime, turn off your TV, computer, and cell phone.
- Steer clear of caffeine (chocolate, tea, coffee, soda) after 2 p.m. Caffeine can stay in your system for 6 hours.
- Avoid alcohol and heavy meals close to bedtime. Contrary to belief, it can be harder to fall asleep after a full meal and it can cause heartburn. Alcohol will do the same.
- Keep the bedroom for sleep and sex only!