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with Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM

This blog has now been retired. We appreciate all of the insights that Dr. Breus has provided to the WebMD community.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Is Your Bedroom Making you FAT? Five Tips for a Skinny Bedroom

The quality and quantity of your sleep  can affect your ability to lose weight, and stay healthy. There are a great many things that influence your sleep, but have you ever considered your bedroom?

Let me give you an example. If music is on while you are cooking in the kitchen, and you have all the right equipment, and all the right ingredients what happens? Not only do you enjoy cooking more, but the food you make likely tastes better!

Adding hours and depth to your sleep results in weight loss:  a 2009 study conducted in Sao Paulo, Brazil found that while sleeping you burn three times more fat then when lying in bed awake.  In another study, participants on identical diets that slept 5.5 hours lost lean muscle, as opposed to those sleeping 7+ hours who lost fat.

So what is your bedroom doing to keep you awake and fat? Here are my Five Tips for a Skinny Bedroom:

1) Lose the snooze: using the snooze button in the early morning hours keeps you from the most calorie burning stage of sleep, REM sleep,-which occurs most in the final third of the night.

  • You can also use the trick of setting your alarm to tell you when to go to bed, to stick to your healthy sleep schedule of getting to bed at the same time every night.

2) Enforce an Electronic Curfew: while I would prefer electronics (phones, laptops, iPads etc) to be out of the bedroom altogether, I know it is simply not realistic. So set an electronic curfew for 1 hour before lights out. This will decrease the electronic exposure you are getting before bed (which has been reported to cause un-refreshing sleep).

  • Try setting an alarm on your mobile device, or better yet see if you can set a timer to turn it off!
  • What would you do in that last hour? Try my POWER DOWN HOUR technique, it works wonders:
  1. 20 minutes of those small things that just need to get done
  2. 20 minutes of bedtime hygiene
  3. 20 minutes of meditation, relaxation, or massage

3) Light the path: If you get up in the middle of the night and need to use the restroom, you probably turn on a light, and tell your brain it is morning! This also slows the production of Melatonin (the “vampire” hormone that-is produced in darkness) which is the key that starts the engine for sleep.

  • Strategically place a night light in the bathroom and in the hall on the way. Now you can avoid any excess light or stumbling into a nightstand, and get back to sleep more easily.

4) Have the right performance equipment: the right mattress and pillow make a huge difference. If you are not comfortable you will not relax enough to fall asleep. If you do not have the proper support you will not awaken feeling refreshed (and thinner).

  • Consider a new mattress when your body tells you it is time, not when the warranty is up. Never sleep on the same surface longer than 7 years.
  • Replace pillows every year, or earlier if your neck is stiff.

5) Provide soothing sounds for sleep: if it is too quiet your hearing will become more acute and everything will keep you awake. Too much noise will also prevent or disrupt sleep. Consider a noise that will drown out any environmental disturbances, without being too loud to prevent sleep.

  • Think about a sound machine
  • Consider using a fan

Don’t let your bedroom prevent you from getting the sleep you need to help you lose those extra pounds.  Look around and see what you can do create a bedroom that helps you sleep better and look better!

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™
www.thesleepdoctor.com
The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan:  Lose Through Better Sleep
Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep™.
Facebook: thesleepdoctor
Twitter: @thesleepdoctor

Posted by: Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM at 11:48 am

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