Fact or fiction: your pre-bedtime habits

Fact or fiction: You shouldn't exercise close to bedtime.
Regular physical activity supports healthy, sound sleep. But engaging in vigorous activity too near to bedtime may do just the opposite. Exercise invigorates the mind and muscles, gets the heart pumping, and increases your body temperature – all things that work against sleep. A morning fitness routine would be better. Or delay your workout until the late afternoon, since it will give your body temperature just enough time to gradually decrease and ease you into sleep.

Fact or fiction: Eating before bedtime is recipe for bad sleep.
A bit of both!
When you eat, your body kicks into high gear for digestion, a job best done while not lying down. If you fall asleep with a mega-meal still working its way through your system, you're more likely to be awakened in the night by indigestion. Going to sleep hungry could be just as bad, though. Nibble on a small snack that contains carbohydrates, calcium, and minimal protein, like whole-grain crackers spread with almond butter or topped with low-fat cheese.

Fact or fiction: Losing sleep can make you fat.
Well, lack of sleep may make you feel hungrier than you really are and more likely to reach for fattening, sugary treats. In a research study at the University of Chicago, test subjects who slept 4 hours per night for 2 nights in a row saw a spike in their bodies' levels of ghrelin, a hunger-inducing hormone – and a dip in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain when it doesn't need any more food. And not only did test subjects feel hungrier, they also craved sweets and shunned healthier fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The researchers suspect it could be because the sleepy, starving brain seeks some quick glucose from simple carbohydrates. Although the exact link between sleep deprivation and weight gain is still not completely clear, experts agree that getting enough sleep is important to overall health.

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