A good night’s sleep is just as important as a good diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight. Many studies have found a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. One big reason: Your hormones—specifically the ones that regulate hunger. One study, for example, found that sleep-deprived people had higher levels of the appetite-boosting hormone ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, the hormone that tells you when you’re full. You know what happens when those two are out of balance.
Another reason: When you’re tired, your energy levels are likely to make the couch—and not the walking trail—look like the perfect place to be. In fact, a 2008 review study in the journal Obesity found that sleep-deprived people spent more time watching TV than doing something active.
Most sleep experts recommend that you maintain a consistent sleep routine: Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends; exercise regularly; get a good dose of sunshine (to set your internal clock); keep it low-key before you hit the hay, and avoid foods and beverages that can interfere with your eight hours. Here are some foods you should never eat before bed: