Just 20 Minutes of Extra Sleep Could Help You Resist Unhealthy Cravings

The link between a lack of sleep and weight gain has long been recognised, but a new study now suggests that as little as 20 extra minutes in bed could help you resist unhealthy food cravings later in the day.

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Researchers looked at 42 healthy people who were getting between five and seven hours sleep a night – a little below the recommended amount. Half of the participants started a programme that helped them sleep for longer, which included avoiding caffeine, establishing a relaxing bedtime routine and not going to bed too full or hungry, while the rest carried on with their usual (slightly deprived) sleep schedule.

It was found that 86 per cent of the group who undertook the healthy pre-bed routine managed to increase their sleep time by an average of 21 minutes, and a month into the programme had cut their sugar intake by almost 10g – the equivalent of half a chocolate bar or half a slice of cake. Their carbohydrate intake was also reduced.

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Dr Wendy Hall, of the department nutritional sciences at King’s College London, where the research was carried out, said:

“The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets.”

So, if you’re trying to lose weight or attempting to eat a little healthier in 2018, it’s a good idea to start by looking at your sleep schedule. According to a recent report commissioned by Eve Sleep, these are some best things you can do when it comes to catching that all-important rest.

  • Stop using your phone 37 minutes before closing your eyes
  • Go to bed at 10.39pm
  • Ensure your bedroom temperature is 16.1°C
  • Put on clean bedding
  • Make sure the room is dark
  • Make sure your bedroom is tidy
  • Wear pyjamas
  • Read a book – not an e-reader
  • Curl up on your right side with your legs curled up
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The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK