Eating less and exercising more is not the only factor determining losing belly fat. While belly fat can still accumulate for those who exercise and eat a healthy diet, lack of sleep is often overlooked.
Recent studies show that belly fat is a symptom of lack of sleep. When your body is not getting enough sleep, it releases more of the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol stimulates fat production deep in the abdomen. High levels of cortisol mean an increase in your appetite and triggers cravings for high fat and high sugar foods.
So if you are looking to reduce your belly fat in addition to a good diet and exercise, you must start making the effort of having a minimum of 7hrs sleep a night.
These are a 5 tips you could take to getting better sleep:
Stick to a sleep schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday including weekends and holidays. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired so that you don’t spend too much time tossing and turning. However if you don’t fall asleep within 15minutes, get up and do something relaxing and get back to bed when you are tired. If you are getting enough sleep, you shouldn’t need an alarm clock to wake you up. If you find you need to set the alarm you might need an earlier bedtime. I personally haven’t set my alarm for the past 2years, not to say I haven’t overslept in those 3 years, but it hardly ever happens.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don’t go to bed either hungry or really full. Avoid big meals at night and try and make dinner time a bit earlier in the evening. Your discomfort might keep you up. also limit the amount you drink as toilet trips in the middle of the night will interrupt your sleep. also avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine closer to your bed time . The stimulating effects of caffeine take hours to wear off. even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy at first, it can interrupt your sleep later at night.
Regular exercisers sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. The more you exercise the better quality sleep you will have, but even light exercise such as walking for 10mins a day can improve your sleep. However try to avoid exercising too close to bed time as you might feel too energised to fall asleep. It can take several months of regular exercise before you experience the benefits of quality sleep, so be patient.
Clear your head and free your mind
Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. Worry and anger from your day can make it difficult to fall asleep. Put aside work and complicated decisions and discussions 2 hours before bedtime. If you still have a lot on your mind, write it down and let go of it for the night. Then about an hour before you sleep read something positive or calming, meditate or listen to some quiet music.
Mattress and pillow
It is recommended that you change your mattress and pillows at least every 5-8years. Research shows that mattress and pillow can greatly impact the quality of sleep as well as joint and back pain. Also check your pillow position to avoid tension and cramps that may make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Your neck and spine should be in a straight line. if you sleep on your stomach like me consider using a very flat pillow or no pillow to keep neck and spine in a straight line.