How much sleep are you getting every night? You need at least 8 hours—and most of us get an average of five. For this past week, I haven’t been sleeping well due to work stress (yes, even the editor in chief of Shape copes with day-to-day stress so we can get the best information out to you each month!:-)) I’ve been getting an average of 5 hours a night—and I definitely hit a wall around this time (3:30 p.m.), which is when I get intense sweets cravings. Being sleep deprived can hinder weight-loss efforts—and make you crave sweets and other sugary foods to boost energy. But they only do so temporarily. If you do get a sweets craving, make sure you have your water bottle and a piece of fruit or a handful of almonds ready to satisfy you.
Then, tonight, create a calming bedtime ritual for at least half an hour before you go to bed. Dim the lights, have a cup of herbal tea (like chamomile) with you, and do some simple stretches (we have plenty here on shape.com). Meditate or just focus on your deep breathing. There are no rules, just make sure the TV is off, your Blackberry or iPhone or iTouch is in another room, and your phone ringer is muted. This is YOU time. Studies show that watching TV, working on the computer, and texting or e-mailing right before bed contributes to disrupted sleep patterns—as does stress. This calming ritual will help with all.
Put this ritual into play for the rest of this makeover, so it becomes a habit—and before long, you’ll be sleeping better and eating better too!