For many years, scientists have been warning us that meal timing is a key factor in weight loss strategies. No matter how hard you try to choose healthy foods, you will gain more weight if you eat them just before bedtime, but your food choices are also likely to be worse if your mealtimes are uncontrolled and you don't get enough sleep.
1 – Eat eggs, milk, meat or fish
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body make its own proteins, but it also promotes the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep. A recent study showed that people suffering from sleep disorders who add a quarter of a gram of this substance to their evening meal sleep better and longer.
This compound is found in animal protein, so its main source is eggs and milk, followed by meat and fish. A serving of any of these foods provides enough tryptophan to help you sleep more soundly.
2 – Carbohydrates in the middle of the day
Although you have heard a thousand times that you should not eat carbs in the evening, you may not know why this is not recommended. First of all, it is not true that we should eliminate all carbohydrates from our dinners, but it is better to focus on complex carbohydrates from vegetables and greens rather than those from pasta and rice. The big problem with eating rice or pasta for dinner is that we tend to eat large amounts of it, ingesting many more calories than recommended. If it's small portions, it's not a problem, because they are very digestible foods, but it's hard not to overdo it. And since we won't be burning them at that point, they will accumulate as fat.
3 – Never eat large meals
You shouldn't go to bed hungry, but it's not a good idea to go to bed full either. The ideal dinner, according to most nutritionists, should provide between 15-25% of your daily calories, a percentage we tend to exceed. If you haven't digested your food yet, your body will work on it all night, making it hard to fall asleep. And the later you go to bed, the less rested you will be and the worse you will wake up, which will also cause you to eat more the next day.
4 – Never eat dinner late
Scientists have linked late dinners to obesity, not only because we expend fewer calories by eating later, but also because we ingest more calories. Under no circumstances should you eat dinner less than three hours before going to bed.
The most important time of day for dieters, where many often fail, is between 6 and 10 pm. More than half of the participants (56%) in a recent survey acknowledged that this is the time when they eat the most calories, nearly half of the entire day. Many respondents, despite being on a diet, admit to snacking after 8 p.m. while watching television. A habit that is directly related to being overweight.
5 – Drink herbal teas
Some herbal teas are highly recommended for relaxing and falling asleep. The best are chamomile, mint, lavender and valerian, which have stronger sedative properties. They will also help us to calm our eventual appetite – because, let's remember, the most important thing is to have an early dinner – and to hydrate ourselves before going to bed.
6 – Turn down the thermostat
“The best indicator of sleep quality is the temperature of the bedroom, which should be between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius,” says David Randall, author of the bestselling Dreamland: Adventures In The Strange Science of Sleep (WW Norton & Co, 2013). Studies show that rooms above or below this temperature keep us awake. If we are too hot or too cold, we will be anxious, which is the main enemy of sleep. For those who sleep naked or without sheets, the optimal room temperature is between 30 and 32 degrees.
Sleeping at a lower temperature has an added benefit. According to a study published in the journal “Diabetes , sleeping in a cold room activates brown fat in adults, resulting in faster weight loss than at higher temperatures.
7 – Turn off the light
Light interrupts the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that is released in our body to allow us to relax and sleep. Avoiding exposure to bright light sources for half an hour before bedtime is one of the basic rules for getting a good night's sleep, but it turns out that it can also influence weight gain.
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology people who sleep in dark rooms are 21% less likely to be obese than those who sleep in brightly lit rooms.
8 – Turn off the television
People who eat while distracted, not only while watching TV, but also while reading, surfing the internet, playing video games or at work, not only eat more without realizing it, but they eat later. Not only do we consume more calories when we are distracted, but we are also less aware of the type of food we are putting in our mouths, which in the long run makes our diet worse, because we don't even know what it is made of.
9 – Take a hot shower
Besides the fact that this habit is very relaxing and pleasant, the idea of taking a hot shower before going to bed is recommended to reach an ideal body temperature that helps us fall asleep. According to a 1985 study, people who took a hot bath before going to bed not only fell asleep faster, but also claimed to have a better quality of sleep.
10 – Making love
Fatigue decreases the frequency of sex and, believe it or not, this can also influence our weight. A new study published in ” The Journal of Sexual Medicine “shows that sexual desire increases when we get enough sleep. And the more sex we have, the better we sleep. And as if that weren't enough, copulation makes you lose weight. It's the perfect combination.