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Quality sleep is essential to general good health, but it’s especially important when you’re following a weight loss plan. After all, no one feels like following an exercise regimen when they’re exhausted and miserable! And since sleep difficulties can disrupt your hormones that cue fat storage, insomnia can actually work against your weight loss plan in more ways than one.
Luckily, sleep science has advanced quite a bit, and we know more about insomnia than ever before. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try these tips to get back to sleep.
Establish a sleep routine. Train your body to sleep at the right times, by going to bed and waking at the same times each day. Establish a soothing nighttime routine, such as herbal tea and reading before bed (just not on a device screen).
Don’t look at a screen! Whatever you do, resist the impulse to check your phone or look at any other type of screen. The light will disrupt your brain’s circadian rhythms, and trick it into thinking morning has arrived. Even worse, checking the time only makes you focus on how much time you have to sleep. You’ll lie awake, obsessing over it, instead of slipping back into your slumber.
Shut out any light. Unnecessary light disrupts your sleep cycles and makes it more difficult to get back to sleep once you’ve awakened. Use room darkening shades or a sleep mask to block unwanted light from reaching your eyelids.
Close your eyes and re-enter your dream. If you were dreaming just before you woke up, focus on where the dream left off. If it was a bad dream, picture the situation turning around and becoming more positive.
Try progressive relaxation. Close your eyes, and then focus on your toes. As you take long, slow breaths, focus on relaxing your toes, then your ankles, then your calves, and so on. Work your way up your body gradually, and you will probably fall asleep by the time you reach your face.
If you find that insomnia simply won’t go away, consult with a sleep expert. And in the meantime, give us a call if you’re having trouble with your weight loss plan. We can help you trouble shoot and solve any problems you might confront at this time.