Guest Blog: Reduce Your Body Fat With Better Sleep by Sheila Johnson
While humans need a small amount of fat to help insulate and protect their bodies, too much isn’t healthy. Unfortunately, many people struggle with health effects from high body fat. The good news is that by cutting your weight by dropping fat, you can enjoy many health benefits—including better sleep.
How Sleep Matters for Health
Just like social support and the right fitness plan are vital for your health, so is proper sleep. Getting enough sleep allows your body to heal and repair itself. Studies also show that inadequate sleep can lead to a higher risk of certain diseases, including diabetes and heart problems. Many people who are overweight experience sleep apnea and other issues, too. Even short-term sleep deprivation in otherwise-healthy people can lead to impaired decision making and other cognitive problems. The solution? Lowering your body weight and setting aside enough time for sleep.
Start with Eating Healthy
Losing weight can prove challenging, especially for people who have been heavy for a long time. But starting with healthier eating habits is an excellent initial step. If you eat out a lot because you’re busy, for example, you can switch to home-cooked meals with the right equipment. An electric pressure cooker can help you get nutritious meals on the table in no time. Consider reviews, pricing, and ease of use when shopping for a pressure cooker.
Cut Calories, Not Nutrients
Going to the gym might be the cornerstone of your weight-loss program. But without putting the right food on your plate, you probably won’t see the progress you’re hoping for. Eating too many calories will keep you from losing weight, no matter how often you’re at the gym. Even if set eating programs or diets don’t sound appealing, consider the caloric value of your food when eating. Focus on reading labels and choosing the most nutritious products—which are often not the low-calorie options.
Stay Moving, Even After the Gym
Going to the gym is an excellent move for a healthier lifestyle. But did you know that even a rigorous trip to the gym every day won’t counteract an otherwise sedentary lifestyle? Health.com notes that research shows that people who sat too much had higher rates of hospitalization, among other health problems. That means if you have an office job or spend lots of time on the couch, you might not be able to lose weight unless you change your lifestyle.
Keeping moving after hours (and after your workout) might be easier than you think. Standing also burns more calories than sitting, which can boost weight loss. If desk work is part of your day, try to take regular breaks to walk around and stretch, cutting down the number of hours you sit still.
Ease into Sleep Each Evening
If your sleep quality is currently suffering, there are steps you can take toward improved rest right away. First, remove technology from your bedroom and avoid use right before bed. Studies show that the blue light that smartphones, TVs, and tablets emit confuses our brains. In fact, the exposure causes your body to suppress melatonin production, which naturally regulates your circadian rhythm. The result is more sleepless nights, which can create a vicious cycle for your wellness.
Instead of turning to your phone for evening entertainment, consider reading a book or taking a walk (which also reduces your risk of remaining sedentary for too long). Getting out in nature can also help with overall wellness, as enjoying green spaces (even urban ones) boosts mood and helps reduce psychological stressors, says the World Health Organization.
Eating healthy is a significant part of the weight-loss picture. But adequate sleep, a nutritious diet, time outdoors, and a less-than-sedentary overall lifestyle all contribute to your well-being. Especially if you’re hoping to lose body fat and promote better rest, it’s important to touch on each of these factors when implementing lifestyle changes.
Sheila Johnson is a blogger and life coach who focuses on health and wellness through fitness, nutrition, and other forms of self-care. To learn more about her, visit her website at wellsheila.net.