You know you feel better after a great night’s sleep. Now Cornell University researchers have discovered another nifty perk: It can help you effortlessly shed three pounds in one week and 24 pounds every year! Turns out, eight hours of shut-eye nightly heightens blood-sugar and appetite control, boosts fat-burning metabolism and energizes your kidneys, helping them flush out trapped fluids. These simple steps make snoozing and slimming a breeze…
Adjust the thermostat
Tweaking the temperature of your bedroom so it’s between 60 and 67 degrees will help you drift off in half the time, plus cut your risk of early morning awakenings by 54 percent, say Yale University researchers. Explains neuroscientist James Horne, Ph.D., sleeping in a comfortably cool room allows your core temperature to drop—and that signals your brain to produce sleep-deepening theta waves.
Set your TV timer
At least 76 percent of us love to unwind by watching our favorite shows. But if you often drift off with the TV still on, set your TV’s sleep timer so it turns off at your desired shut-eye time. Harvard University researchers say your brain will produce twice as much sleep-inducing melatonin, and you’ll snooze 67 percent more soundly, if you fall asleep at the same time each night— and if you drift off in a darkened room.
Enjoy a parfait dessert
Snacking on 1 cup of plain yogurt topped with 1⁄2 cup of fruit each evening can help you fall asleep 50 percent faster, plus nix up to three middle-of-the-night awakenings. That, say Canadian researchers, is because the probiotics in yogurt heighten your digestive tract’s production of the calming hormone serotonin—and fruit’s natural sugars tamp down your brain’s production of an alertness-triggering compound (orexin).
Try an herbal extract
Busy brain keeping you up? Try taking 700 mg. of passionflower 30 minutes before bed. This herbal extract quiets your mind as effectively as Valium and can help you sleep 72 percent more deeply, according to a study in Phytotherapy Research. Explains study coauthor Russ Conduit, Ph.D., passionflower is a natural sedative that calms the brain’s anxiety center. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.