Everyone takes the odd nap in the afternoon.
It can be hard to keep your eyes open on a warm summer afternoon, and no-one can blame you for dozing off once in a while.
But what effect does this have on your body?
Well, sleeping in the afternoon can certainly affect your body’s natural rhythm, which could be disastrous if you’re trying to lose weight.
Luckily, we’ve got some afternoon sleep do’s and don’ts to make sure you aren’t hurting your weight loss efforts.
If you’re serious about losing weight, you also need to follow a healthy diet and manage your stress levels.
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Does sleeping in the afternoon really increase your weight?
Consistency is key, and it’s crucial for your body to have regular, healthy habits, especially if you want to keep the extra pounds off.
The main thing to understand if you’re trying to lose weight, is that sleeping in the afternoon isn’t the main reason that you struggle to lose weight.
The problem comes when your sleep schedule is out of sync, and the real issue with an afternoon sleeping is that it puts your sleep pattern at risk.
If you find yourself falling asleep in the afternoon, it could be harder for you to fall asleep at night, sleep well, and ultimately, manage your weight.
Not getting enough rest can seriously affect your metabolism and change how well your body deals with glucose.
And as well as making you hungrier, lack of sleep can also make you crave unhealthy, calorie-packed foods.
This can be a serious setback if you’re trying to stick to your diet and lose weight.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep your sleep pattern in check and avoid making afternoon naps a habit.
How to avoid sleeping in the afternoon
The best way to avoid sleeping in the afternoon is to take action when you feel that 3 o’clock slump coming on.
Here are a few ways to make sure you stay energized right through the day and keep your body in the best shape for losing weight.
Get active to avoid sleeping in the afternoon
Not only will this perk you up, but it adds the bonus of burning a few calories too.
No-one is saying to bust out the gym bag, a little bit of movement can go a long way to giving you that much-needed boost.
You could try:
- A brisk walk – Just a few minutes of brisk walking out in the fresh air is often enough to remind your body that it’s not time for bed just yet.
- Some lunges or squats – Get your heart pumping and muscles working with a few minutes of lunges or squats. They can be done anywhere!
- Hit the stairs if you’re at work – Swapping the elevator for the staircase is sure to give you the jolt you need to keep it going for a few more hours.
Anything that gets your heart pumping and you breathing a little quicker will do the trick.
Remember, the aim of the game is to fight off that tiredness for a while so that your sleep pattern stays consistent.
As little as 2 minutes of exercise will help you avoid dozing off and sweetens the deal by burning a few calories as well.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to build this habit into a mini-afternoon weight loss workout, you should check out these quick and easy exercises you can do at home.
We’ve all been told that it’s important to drink water, but did you know that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue?
Not drinking enough water can make it even more likely to struggle against afternoon tiredness.
Drinking enough water every day helps you keep your body and brain well oiled and alert, as well as boosting sleep quality, mood, and concentration.
Fuel yourself to avoid afternoon sleepiness
You wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in your car, so why put the wrong fuel into your body?
One of the best things you can do to keep you going through that afternoon slump is to eat balanced, nutritious meals.
Filling up on proteins and carbohydrates like brown rice and oats can keep you feeling fuller for longer and give you the energy you need to make it through the afternoon.
If you’re not sure what to eat, we’ve got loads of healthy, easy and delicious recipes to keep you energized at lunch time.
And if you need an energy boost in the afternoon, instead of reaching for high calorie sugary snacks that might help for a while before you crash again, why not take a look at some cheap and healthy snacks?
This might seem counterintuitive, and by all means a cup of coffee can certainly help with energy levels in the short term.
But you should consider cutting back if you find yourself struggling with sleep.
The effects of caffeine can last for 5 hours, sometimes even longer, and can make it much harder to get to sleep.
This can have the knock-on effect of keeping you up at night and disrupting your sleeping pattern, which will cause tiredness the next day.
This is bad for weight loss and will probably end up making you crave caffeine at the same time each day.
It can be a viscous and damaging cycle, and cause serious problems for your sleep pattern, especially if you’re training to lose weight.
So if you find yourself reaching for a coffee at the same time every afternoon, try cutting it out for one day and get yourself a good night’s sleep to cure tomorrow’s tiredness.
Sleep hygiene helps fight weight gain
One of the best ways to avoid feeling tired is practicing good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene means having healthy habits and an environment that will help you get consistent high-quality sleep.
Getting enough quality rest on a regular basis is the best way to reduce tiredness, cut down on afternoon sleeping, and stop weight increase associated with lack of sleep.
Find out how you can boost your sleep hygiene for weight loss, with our helpful, easy-to-follow tips.
If you do have to sleep in the afternoon…
Sometimes you can’t avoid sleeping in the afternoon and napping isn’t always a bad thing.
If you’ve been kept up all night with the kids, or work irregular hours a nap might be the thing to give you that extra boost.
If you really can’t keep your eyes open, make sure you’re napping the right way.
Take a look at our expert tips and learn how to nap like a pro:
Keep afternoon naps short
5 minutes of sleep is unlikely to help, but on the other hand, anything longer than a half hour is likely to make you feel groggy and impact your sleep schedule.
Experts recommend between 10-30 minutes of sleep as the sweet spot for the perfect mid-afternoon recharge.
It’s even thought that a 10-minute nap can give you great benefits like:
- Reduced tiredness.
- Improved learning.
- Better memory.
- Better emotional control.
So if you do have to sleep in the afternoon, keep it between ten and thirty minutes, and set an alarm.
This should help to avoid any impact to your sleep schedule and make sure you’re in the best place for weight loss.
Sleep earlier in the afternoon
Most people seem to agree, the best time for napping is early afternoon.
Right after lunch, you might experience a dip in your energy and feel extra sleepy.
If this is the case, then the best time for you to nap is early afternoon, and no later than 2pm.
Any later than that and you might have knock on effects, like extra tiredness after waking up, and trouble sleeping at night.
Of course, if you work nights or shifts, this might not apply to you. So try to avoid napping any later than 6-7 hours before your normal bed time.
Have a good place to nap
Being tired is bad enough, the last thing you want is to be tired and stressed.
So if you do choose to nap, it’s important that you have a quiet, stress free place to do it.
Make sure you’re in a place where you won’t be disturbed for 15 minutes.
You could switch your phone onto silent, and make sure it’s quiet and preferably dark.
It’s not always possible to find a quiet, dark place in the afternoon, so consider picking up some earplugs and an eye mask.
Does sleeping in the afternoon increase your weight?
But it can certainly contribute to some unhealthy habits that might lead you to putting on some extra pounds.
And if you find yourself dozing off regularly, it could be a sign that your body-clock is out of sync, which can cause all sorts of problems – especially with your food choices and hunger levels.
Little naps can be beneficial, but don’t over do it if you’re trying to lose weight.
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