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Lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to increase and leptin to
decrease. Good sleep habits are associated with higher rates of
weight loss, and people who sleep well are more likely to maintain
their weight loss.1
Great, so now we have a multitude of reasons to improve our sleep habits,
but that can be more easily said than done. At the Lawyers Assistance Program,
we recognize that change can be difficult, and what may work for one
person may not work for another. Below is a list of suggestions that some
people have found helpful in banking a better sleep.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
1. Naturally regulate your sleep–wake cycle: You can do this by increasing
your exposure to light during the day and decreasing your exposure
to artificial light at night. Our bodies are lulled to sleep by the relaxing
hormone melatonin. You won’t feel sleepy while exposed to bright light
because light suppresses melatonin production. Surround yourself
with darkness if you want to improve your sleep.
2. Reduce noise: Consider a white noise machine or ear plugs.
3. Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime: Many of us crave a bedtime
snack or eat dinner late in the evening. A large amount of food consumed
shortly before bedtime will send your digestive system into
overdrive, which will disrupt your sleep pattern.
4. Avoid having a full bladder: Consuming too many liquids before bed
will keep you up during the night and send you running to the washroom
when you should be catching some z’s.
5. Avoid electronics: While catching up on e-mails and social media may
satisfy the fear of missing out, doing so keeps us stimulated. Each time
we check our e-mail or social media account we receive a shot of
dopamine, a chemical that our brain releases to stimulate pleasure.
Moreover, the artificial light from your computer screen, iPad, phone
or television will keep your body and mind stimulated and unable to
sleep. The artificial light emitted from screens will also suppress melatonin
6. Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the
same time, even on weekends, helps to regulate your body clock. You
can also let your body know it is time to prepare for bed by following a
bedtime routine that you repeat nightly. For example, make your
lunch, lay out your clothes, wash your face and brush your teeth.