Everyone on a weight loss journey has wished for results that happened over night, but just because you can't shed big pounds while you sleep doesn't mean you can't set your body on the right path before climbing into bed. Here are four weight loss habits to integrate into your nightly routine, whether you're new to your fitness grind or continuously in pursuit of healthier habits.
Packing a lunch cuts down on calories and expenses, so don't wait until you're rushing out the door to think about what's going to make up your mid-day meal. According to Atlanta dietitians, those looking to cut calories should prioritize low-fat protein and carbohydrates for lunch in order to give the body fuel for the rest of the day. "A well-rounded, satisfying lunch includes a good source of protein: think beans or tofu, fish, boiled eggs, chicken, lean meat." The further ahead you plan, the more likely you are to snag the right ingredients for a tasty and balanced meal, so try to pack up the night before.
Snack on dairy products.
No, eating a bowl of ice cream or working on your night cheese isn't going to help the inches fly off of your waist. But according to research published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, there is evidence to suggest that consuming dairy products before bed can improve your body's overnight recovery after exercise. Try mixing up a smoothie or turning to a glass of milk for something light to reap the benefits.
Turn the thermostat down.
Everyone has a different temperature preference when they're counting sheep, but those who prefer to keep their bedroom on the cool side can burn up to 100 extra calories each night. Research suggests that sleeping in a room that is 66 degrees or cooler not only makes it easier to fall asleep, it also helps your body release more melatonin, which can protect brain health and improves weight control. Theories say this is likely because the body has to work a bit harder to stay at the ideal temperature of 98.6 degrees, but there's no evidence to prove that the body doesn't compensate for these extra burned calories in other ways throughout the day. So don't endure a freezing night's sleep in the name of weight loss — just consider the theory an added excuse to bask in the AC.
Prepare for your best night's sleep.
The best thing you can do to promote weight loss is give your body the fuel it needs to operate properly — and that means getting a good night's sleep. Engaging in a soothing shower or bath, doing a five-minute stretching routine, and slipping into bed with a book will set the tone for your best eight hours.