While getting a good night's sleep is the best way to keep your metabolism elevated and burn more calories efficiently, it's also important to take note of the poor behaviors that might be negatively impacting your metabolism. There are several things that can be slowing the metabolism at night, apart from the body's natural tendency to be at its lowest during sleep cycle, and so by addressing these issues and striving to make improvements, you'll be better able to go to bed feeling more confident and fit.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on creating sleep-enhancing habits that fit nicely into their lifestyles and schedules. Such adjustments before bed can promote healthy repair and growth of cells and muscles and help regulate our hormones, such as our "hunger" hormones, ghrelin (stimulating) and leptin (suppressing) in particular. When we get adequate sleep, leptin is higher, meaning that our appetite is more controllable, and we are better able to prevent cravings. Plus, when our muscles are strong and rested, we are better able to excel at more grueling workouts. Thus, it's important to nix bad habits that can keep us awake at night and to try and get more restorative sleep in our week, striving for roughly seven or eight hours nightly. Stop doing these eleven things at night for a faster metabolism.
1. Drinking Caffeine After 4pm
Instead of reaching for another cup of joe during that afternoon slump, grab a handful of nuts and pour a glass of water or de-caffeinated tea. Caffeine can keep us awake at night and thus interfere with our natural sleep patterns and metabolic rate. While a cup might provide an instant jolt, the consequences will kick in an hour later. Instead of ending dinner with a cappuccino, have a cup of chamomile or another herbal tea to help relax the body. Plus, chamomile has been proven a natural relaxer and sleep aid.
2. Eating Too Heavy A Meal
Eating too much so close to bedtime can make our stomaches ache, and all that bloating and pain could interfere with our ability to fall asleep. When the body is overwhelmed with too much acidity, which is especially found in protein and animal sources, it can cause abdominal discomfort, as the metabolism cannot break down all the nutrients as quickly. Eat smaller portions that the body can digest easily and head to bed for a sound sleep.
3. Eating Sugary Desserts
While having a square or two of dark chocolate after dinner can curb a sweet tooth and offer health benefits in a small serving size, eating a big bowl of fudge brownie ice cream or having a processed baked good, such as a cupcake, donut or slice of cake, can slow the metabolism and signal the body to store fat. If you want dessert, have fresh fruit or pure dark chocolate, in its natural state.
Unless you're gearing up for a marathon, carbo-loading before bed will slow your metabolism and cause a spike in insulin, which will throw off your blood sugar balance. Insulin causes are bodies to store fat, and it is stimulated when we flood our body with too many refined carbohydrates and sugary products. Instead of eating pasta, swap out for zucchini noodles, brown rice or a whole wheat variety. If you're having a grain, give yourself one serving, and make vegetables and lean protein the main stars of the meal.
5. Doing Work Emails
Once you're home from work, be home. Watch some television, read a book, take a bath, cook a healthy meal, or be with friends or family. Give yourself a set time at night to stop checking emails or thinking about work. If you don't "set a time to 'turn off' work and be present with families, work and home will try to coexist in an uneasy balance until one or the other breaks," says Krisha Buehler, HR manager and culture cultivator at eaHELP over email with Bustle. Such stress increases cortisol, which can slow our metabolism.
6. Taking Medications Before Bed
There are some medications that can cause the metabolism to slow down, and so taking them at a different time of day might be a great way to keep your metabolism higher at night and combat the slower rate during the day when you have more opportunities to be active and burn calories. Ask your physician for his or her opinion on the matter, and see if you can swap medications or take them earlier in the day.
7. Eating Too Much Fat
While there is much research on the benefits of healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, olive oil, oily fish and seeds, it's harder for the body to break down fats than other nutrients. Eating a balanced meal includes healthy fats, but keep portion control in check so that you don't overwhelm the body. Plus, avoid bad fats, such as trans and saturated, in excess, as those can reduce metabolic rate.
8. Chilling On Your Couch For Hours
While relaxing on your couch and watching Netflix is a great way to de-stress, it also promotes a sedentary lifestyle and does not allow the body to boost metabolic burn after dinner. "Instead of staying put, do some toning exercises while watching your program, or take breaks throughout the evening to do some chores, such as cleaning the dishes and kitchen, getting the bed ready and brushing your teeth (great for preventing snacking!)," advises healthy lifestyle coach Liz Traines, over email with Bustle.
9. Watching Television After 11pm
Watching television this late can keep our senses alert and trigger mindless cravings and munchies, both of which will cause us to consume more food than we need to and make poorer decisions with what we are choosing to eat. Plus, advertisements are often food related, and these food and product ads can make us hungrier and more likely to head to the fridge.
10. You Take In A Night Cap
Going to happy hours in the evening or taking in a night cap post dinner can slow your metabolism, as alcohol can make us store fat and overwhelm our bodies with added sugar. Plus, alcohol promotes water retention, so we might feel bloated the next day. Drinking can also interfere with our ability to sleep soundly and workout the next day, as it can dehydrate us and prevent proper muscle repair.
11. You Skip Dinner
Skipping dinner will force our bodies into starvation mode, where they will start pulling from our muscles to burn as a source of energy, rather than looking to burn fat cells. Having less muscle mass will slower the metabolism, and you also might experience hunger later on in the night and feel compelled to give in to cravings or grab unhealthy and convenient foods instead.
Apart from getting enough sleep and eating well at night, avoid these triggers that can wake you up and prevent a good night's rest and cause the body to burn fewer calories than it normally (or potentially) could. Making lifestyle changes can be a challenging transition, but it'll be completely worth it in the end!
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