Sleep Hygiene and Weight Loss

Not only are good sleep patterns essential for your physical and mental health, but more and more studies are being done that reveal how crucial it is for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Getting enough sleep is essential for weight loss.

If you are trying to lose weight and make healthy choices it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all the latest information and “lingo.”  Likewise, there can be conflicting information with each Google search. Low fat or High fat? Fasting or 6 small meals? High intensity exercise or walking? Regardless of the program you chose, or the ideology you embrace every expert agrees that sleep is crucial for weight loss and overall good health. Creating good habits and ensuring adequate rest is called “Sleep Hygiene.”

Not only are good sleep patterns essential for your physical and mental health, but more and more studies are being done that reveal how crucial it is for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Getting enough sleep is essential for weight loss.

So, what does good Sleep Hygiene look like? Let’s look at 10 healthy habits all experts agree will put you on the road to your most rested self:

  1. Know How Much Sleep You Need: There are varying factors that determine how much sleep a person needs, but the average adult needs 7-9 hours. Determine what your goal is by how rested you feel after a full nights sleep. Most experts agree that a minimum of 7 hours is required to avoid negative effects on your metabolism and overall health, but you may find you feel best with 9 or 10 hours so it is good to determine your perfect number.

  2. Go to Bed and Get Up at the Same Time Daily: Once you have determined how much sleep you need, it is important to be consistent about when you go to bed and when you get up every day. Your body thrives on a schedule and the more consistent you are about when you go to bed and when you wake up, the more your body will respond to that pattern and the higher your quality of rest will be.

  3. Avoid Caffeine and Sugar after 3:00 p.m.: It may seem obvious, but it is important to pay attention to what you eat and drink in the hours leading up to bedtime. Be especially cautious of your caffeine and sugar intake as both can cause stimulation hours after consumption.

  4. Limit Daytime Naps: Naps can be a healthy habit, with a myriad of health benefits, especially when you need to catch up on sleep, but it is important not to nap too long or too late. Studies show that the most effective naps are about 20 minutes long and before 3:00 p.m.

  5. Make Exercise a Daily Part of your Routine: Exercise is important for so many reasons, but it has been proven to also help with healthy sleep patterns. It doesn’t have to be high intensity; incorporating a daily walk can be enough to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

  6. Go Outside and Check Your Vitamin D: Make sure you get some time outside for sunlight to register with your brain;  it helps to set your circadian rhythm. It is also crucial that you have enough Vitamin D. Most people do not spend enough time outside and so it is important to take a Vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is crucial in helping you sleep well and maintain a healthy weight.

  7. Make Your Room Cool and Quiet: It may seem like a no-brainer, but comfort is key to a good night’s sleep. Keep your room cool and if you can, invest in a good mattress that provides the right amount of support. If you are a light sleeper and wake easily, use an eye-mask, white noise machine or ear plugs to ensure you stay asleep longer.

  8. Do Not Work in Your Bed: It is important that your body and your brain associate your bed with sleep and not work. Avoid answering work emails in bed, or even surfing the web in bed. Make a habit of reading under a soft light if you need a little time to decompress once you are in bed, but try to always associate bed with relaxation and rest.

  9. Try to Establish a Bedtime Routine: A good way to avoid restlessness once you go to bed is to have a routine that communicates to your body “it is time to sleep.”  It can be a bath, or cup of warm tea, a soft light and a book -- whatever it is that helps you turn off your mind and prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.

  10. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: This can a big challenge these days. We have all become too attached to our devices but using a phone right before bed (and especially in bed) can have multiple negative effects on your sleep patterns. Make a conscious effort to turn off the TV, and especially your phone, an hour or more before tucking yourself into bed. It might take a little while to break the habit, but you will see the benefits far outweigh the adverse effect the blue light and the overstimulation have on your ability to fall asleep.


Healthy living consists of multiple efforts and principles but sleep is one of the most important factors to consider when trying to live your healthiest life. Be kind to your body, give it time to rest and regenerate. You will notice the benefits mind, body and soul.

Be kind to your body, give it time to rest and regenerate.
— Dr. Valerie Liao
LoriJean ReedComment