It’s 3 p.m. You’re tired and stressed. And you can’t stop thinking about chocolate, cheesecake, burgers, and fries.
Maybe your junk-food craving is so strong, it’s like you’re being pulled to the vending machine, drive-thru, or nearest quickie mart by an unseen force to get your fix, and munch your way through some high-calorie junk food.
Or maybe you manage your cravings during the day, but overeat when you get home, and top off dinner with snacks and dessert.
That ever happen?
The Hunger Games
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not alone. Research shows that as your workday unfolds and your stress level rises, cravings go up.1
So how do you curb those less-than-healthy cravings?
More will power: I’m only going to eat fruits and vegetables when I get hungry.
A bare-bones diet: I’m going to cut calories to avoid overeating.
A regimented eating schedule: I’m going to eat three meals and two snacks, at the same time, every day. That’s it.
Deep breathing and meditation: I am in control of my mind and body. I am acknowledging my hunger, and choose to eat mindfully.
There’s nothing wrong with these strategies to help you curb hunger cravings. But the truth is, they often don’t work…especially if you’re sleep deprived.
Use Your Pillow to Curb Hunger Cravings
Managing stress in healthy ways can make a difference. But it’s not the only factor that influences food cravings.
“Another key finding showed how sleep helped people deal with their stressful eating after work,” according to researchers. “When workers slept better the night before, they tended to eat better when they experienced stress the next day.”
Want to curb junk-food cravings and eat healthier? Use your pillow.
Research shows that 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a good recipe for healthy eating.
Sleep helps reduce stress, improve your mood, and control cravings linked to hormones ghrelin and leptin.. Here are some ways to get a good night’s sleep:2
- Keep to a regular sleep schedule 7 days a week.
- Exercise daily. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Being physically tired at the end of the day helps people get to sleep sooner, and stay asleep longer.
- Relax before bedtime (e.g., take a hot bath, read, meditate).
Create a comfortable sleep environment. It’s best to make your room as dark as possible and eliminate distractions (e.g., outside light, a messy room, pets, room temperature) that could keep you awake.
- Avoid media before bed such as watching TV or using your computer or mobile devices in bed.
- Don’t eat a large meal or drink a lot of liquids late at night.
- Don’t exercise or nap late in the evening.
- Don’t drink alcohol right before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine for 8 hours before going to sleep.
These are ingredients for a good night’s sleep that will help you make better food choices and curb cravings.
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