Try One Easy Hack Before Bed To Lose Weight While You Sleep

Your weight loss strategy might include a healthy diet and regular exercise, but a lack of sleep could easily sabotage your weight loss goals. When you're sleep-deprived, you're more likely to give in to cravings for high-sugar and high-fat foods. Getting enough sleep will help you make better decisions about foods during the day as well as avoid late-night snacking (via Healthline).

Reduced sleep can also raise your cortisol levels, which are linked to obesity and weight gain, according to Rise Science. Cortisol is linked to stress, and high cortisol levels in the evening could also impact your sleep. Therefore, it's important to reduce your cortisol levels as you wind down in the evening so that you can sleep better. A 2020 study in Frontiers in Psychology found that poor sleepers optimized their sleep when they incorporated moderate exercise or stretching into their day. Because you don't want to exercise just before bed, stretching could be a good practice to help you get a better night's sleep while working on your weight loss.

Stretching can help reduce stress

Although the exercises in the 2020 study in Frontiers in Psychology weren't done in the evening, other studies have shown that stretching can keep stress at bay. A 2017 study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that an hour of power yoga or a stretching-based yoga practice reduced cortisol levels after just a single session. A 2015 systematic review in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that meditative movements such as tai chi, qi gong, and yoga can improve sleep quality.

Stretching doesn't burn a ton of calories — only about 2.7 calories a minute (via Healthline). According to the American Council on Exercise, stretching is an important component of fitness. You'll reduce any muscle stiffness and avoid possible injuries. By promoting circulation throughout your body, you'll also encourage your muscles to relax. Stretching can also increase levels of that feel-good hormone serotonin, which can help you unload the stress from the day (via Colorado State University).

What stretches to do before bed

According to the Sleep Foundation, you can include these stretches into your nightly wind-down routine. Because sitting at a desk all day can cause tension in the neck, begin with neck stretches by dropping your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for about 10 seconds, then do the left side. You can repeat this stretch a few times.

To relieve tension in your legs and back, sit on the floor (or your bed) and spread your legs a comfortable distance apart. Without locking your knee straight, bend toward your right ankle until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 10 seconds, then move to the left side. Repeat these stretches about 10 times per side.

A supine twist can also ease tension in your lower back, per SleepScore Labs. While lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest for a gentle back stretch. Then, drop your knees to one side while your upper back remains on the floor or bed. Breathe through this stretch for about 30 seconds, then use your abdominals to draw your knees to the opposite side.