7 Morning Habits That Stop You from Losing Weight
6 Bedtime Habits That Help You Lose Weight
A glass of milk, cup of Greek yogurt, or even a protein smoothie before bed can do more than fight the pre-bedtime belly growls. They also help you build more muscle while you sleep. That's because dairy is chock-full of casein, a slow-to-digest form of protein that keeps exercisers' muscles fueled with amino acids, so they can build lean mass all night long, according to research published inMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Just a refresher: Building muscle is the No. 1 way to increase your metabolic rate and burn more calories every day.
MORE:The 8 Best Bedtime Snacks For Weight Loss
"Winding down before bed can seem like a waste of time when most of us are rushing to get everything done right up until we get in bed," says Scott. But it's actually better to take the 30 minutes before hitting the hay for yourself—even if that means going to sleep a little later, she says.
Do a relaxing activity that you truly enjoy, like reading. This helps protect your sleep and energy, he says. (Work toward your weight loss goals after a full night of shut-eye with these moves fromWomen's Health'sLook Better Naked DVD.)
Even without a bedtime gadget habit, bright lights coming through your bedroom windows can cut down on your body's production of sleepy-time melatonin, interfering with sleep quality, says Nadolsky.
MORE:How To Sleep Your Way To Weight Loss
That explains why, in one 2014 University of Oxford study, women who slept in the darkest rooms were 21% less likely to be obese than women who slept in the lightest rooms. But if you want to get the biggest benefit from "lights out," you need to dim your indoor lights along with the setting sun. Think about it: If you spend your evening hours in a brightly lit living room, you're missing out on a ton of melatonin that boosts your sleep, he says.
While intense exercise scheduled too close to bed can backfire by energizing you, performing some light stretching or yoga before (or even in) bed helps the body relax, says Nadolsky.
For even more relaxation, incorporate deep, diaphragmatic breathing into your moves. Here's how to do that: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, focusing on taking slow, complete breaths that raise and lower your belly, rather than your chest. Doing so activates your "rest and digest" parasympathetic nervous system to reduce tension and help you fall asleep, he says.
It might help you drift off (errr, pass out?), but it won't help you stay that way. "Alcohol consumed too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality in the second part of the night," says Scott. That's because metabolizing the sugar in alcoholic beverages doesn't let your body actually rest, he says. That results in longer light sleep stages, decreased dream sleep, and more fragmented dream sleep.
Video: 11 Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight Fast
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