Sleep can be difficult to achieve in quality and quantity over the Christmas period.
However, getting enough snooze time can help you combat the effect of all those mince pies.
That’s because a lack of sleep could be adding to your waistline, while enough time in bed could help you trim down.
New research revealed that 74 per cent of dieters who had a regular sleep routine were able to shift eight pounds.
The study of 1,000 people by Forza Supplements found that getting between seven and eight hours of sleep was best for the waistline.
But what does sleep affect our weight? “When we sleep we burn most of our fat, so if we don’t sleep this can significantly affect weight loss,” explained Pippa Campbell, nutritionist and weight loss coach.
“Interrupted or impaired sleep can cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight.”
These are four changes to make to your diet to achieve that deep sleep.
“Cherries have been found to contain small amounts of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep cycles,” said Cassandra Barns, a nutritionist.
“Although all cherries may contain some melatonin, tart ‘Montmorency’ cherries in particular have been found in a clinical trial to increase the body’s melatonin levels and increase sleep time.”
No starchy carbs before bed
“Starchy carbs and sugars will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep,” warned Pippa.
“Later, when blood sugar drops too low, you may wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.
“However, if you are suffering with severe stress you may find that a pre-bedtime small protein or carb snack might help around 10pm.
“In these instances I advise my clients to eat some almond butter on a small rye or gluten-free cracker.”
“Alcohol may help you to get to sleep but it will cause you to wake up throughout the night,” said Dr Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.
“It will affect your blood sugar so it can cause a drop in the middle of the night, and then adrenaline will be released causing you to wake.
“Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body so it can wake you to go to the toilet but also leave you very thirsty.
“It also stops the passage of tryptophan into your brain and it this amino acid which is converted into serotonin, the ‘feel good’ brain chemical.”
Get enough B vitamins
“Eat foods rich in B vitamins, which have many health benefits, for example vitamin B12 encourages healthy levels of melatonin, a hormone that supports healthy sleep,” suggested Pippa.
Tuna, chicken breast and yogurt are all rich in vitamin B.
Additionally, taking vitamin D supplements can help you sleep.