This Is the One Thing You Should Do Every Night if You Want To Lose Weight, According To Registered Dietitians
Kaitlin Vogel – March 21, 2023
Plus a few easy-to-implement tips.
When it comes to weight loss, many of us first think of diet and exercise. However, there’s one thing you can do every night that can be a game-changer when it comes to weight loss.
In particular, it’s a habit that improves sleep—which is key to weight loss. “Sleep deprivation leads to decreased alertness, reaction time and ability to store memories,” says Joel Totoro, RD, Director of Sports Science at Thorne HealthTech. “Sleep deprivation can also lead to a decrease in immune function and a reduction in the release of growth hormones, as well as the hormones leptin and adiponectin—both of which have roles in fat gain and loss.”
Here’s the habit to practice if you want to sleep better and, as a result, lose weight.
Practice This One Sleep Habit To Lose Weight
If you want to manage your weight, stop eating (or at least don’t eat a big meal) a few hours before bedtime.
Going to bed on a full stomach may interfere with getting restful sleep which upsets the hormones that tell us we’re hungry and when we are full. As a result of poor sleep, you may be hungrier during the day, Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, explains. Also, poor sleep can make you gravitate toward foods that provide a quick energy boost, which are often filled with added sugar or other highly refined carbohydrates and add calories to your day.
“Eat a satisfying, balanced dinner with at least 25 grams of protein and stop eating after dinner,” says Ward. “Though calories consumed close to bedtime don’t automatically prevent weight loss, it’s easier to go overboard on food when snacking after dinner especially when these foods are high in fat and calories.”
Routine snacking every night can lead to a lack of interest in breakfast because you’re still full from the night before. As a consequence, you repeat the cycle of eating too few calories during that day and too many at night, which can keep you from shedding pounds in the long run, Ward concludes.
“If you want a snack, make it a modest portion of a high-protein food, like a handful of roasted edamame, Greek yogurt or a handful of pistachios,” says Ward. “Try to eat dinner as early as you can comfortably fit it into your lifestyle.”
Additional Tips for Better Sleep
Here are some best practices to help you preserve your sleep time (and, therefore, help with weight loss), according to Amy S. Margulies, RD, CDCES, LDN, NBC-HWC.
Make a sleep schedule
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Yes, even on weekends. This will let your body get into a natural rhythm. Aim for a full seven to nine hours each night.
Make it consistent.
It’s common to think of sleep as something you can “make up.” But human bodies aren’t like bank accounts; we can’t make withdrawals and deposits whenever we want. We need plenty of rest as consistently as possible.
Give your devices a rest! Texts, TV shows, games and funny cat videos will all be there for you the next day. Set a bedtime alert on your phone or stick a note to your TV reminding you of your bedtime—and theirs.
Ask for help
Overwhelmed with to-do lists? Delegate. Ask your kids to help wash dishes or enlist your partner for evening chores. See if a coworker can share the load on a big deadline. That way you don’t have to stay up late finishing other tasks.
Accept the unexpected
Interruptions and sleepless nights will come up from time to time. When they do, don’t dwell on your frustration—that stress can make it even harder to get back into your sleep rhythm. Just accept the interruption, think of it as a temporary lapse, and try again for better sleep the next night.
If these interruptions end up becoming a trend, think of what you can do to change the pattern and make it work for you.