Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. A huge portion of US adults – around a third – has difficulty either falling or staying asleep. There are many factors that contribute to this, from simple issues like too much light in the bedroom to diagnosable sleep disorders.
However, you may be surprised to learn that your weight can actually cause sleep issues. There are many ways in which being overweight can lead to poor sleep. It’s also a vicious cycle: When you’re overtired, you’re less likely to eat right and exercise, leading you to continue gaining.
Here’s a look at a few techniques you can use to combat poor sleep and shed excess weight at the same time.
Lean on Others
Anyone who has tried to make any kind of lifestyle change knows it’s difficult to do it alone. One common tool for success is leaning on support people in your life. These people may be friends, family, others in a weight loss group, or a combination.
If you’re wary about turning to those close to you for weight loss support, you can also consider Balanced Habits coaching. Our coaches offer customized support from expert sources designed to help you succeed. A supportive environment can make or break your ability to hit your goals.
Look at Your Diet
It’s probably obvious to most of us that to lose weight, we must address some aspect of our eating. However, you can also adjust your diet to improve your sleep while you shed pounds. One of the most common weight loss recommendations is eating several small meals throughout the day.
This is also a great sleep quality tip. When you eat smaller meals throughout the day, you avoid eating big, heavy meals close to bedtime. When you have a big meal before bed, your body has to keep working to digest that food. Moreover, you may suffer from reflux overnight, which can keep you out of deeper sleep cycles even if it doesn’t wake you up all the way. Focus on small meals throughout the day, and if you must eat close to bedtime, turn to something light and easy to digest, like a handful of crackers or sliced cucumber.
Check Your Sleep Surface
The wrong mattress may be one of the primary causes of a poor night’s sleep, especially for heavier people. Excess weight tends to cause joint or back pain. The right mattress will give your body the support it needs to take a break, rest, and repair. This leaves you ready to take on the next day.
If your mattress is older than 10 years, or you frequently wake up sore, consider an upgrade. Focus on finding a good match that provides plenty of support for your body type and sleep position. A hybrid mattress like Titan is a good fit for heavier sleepers of all types and offers a neutral feel, while innerspring mattresses like Saatva are a great pick for stomach sleepers who want a more luxurious feel. Note that coil mattresses are a better choice for heavier individuals as they are more durable and supportive than memory foam.
Seek Medical Input
Finally, sleep and weight are both things worth talking to your doctor about, especially when you have issues with both. You may be a candidate for a sleep study, which can help determine any disorders that may need medical intervention.
Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes poor oxygen intake overnight, is common in overweight individuals. Weight loss is a great step toward reducing apnea concerns, but you may need a sleep mask in the meantime. This will allow you to begin getting the sleep necessary to pursue an overall healthy lifestyle.
Shedding excess body fat is a move that has positive effects on many different aspects of your life, including your sleep quality. Focus on healthy, sustainable measures for weight loss, and you’ll see the massive quality of life improvements, day and night.