Sleep Well, Eat Well, Feel Well: Optimize Your Nighttime Routine for a Metabolism Reset

We spend ⅓ of our life sleeping – that’s a long time! Yet why is sleep usually an afterthought? 

If you feel like you’re doing all the right things on your health journey like eating balanced meals and staying active but you aren’t seeing much progress, you might need to rethink your sleep routine! Quality sleep plays a fundamental role for your metabolism regulation. 

What is metabolism? It’s the chemical process that takes consumed food and converts it into energy. Your metabolic rate is based on the energy your body uses to keep its systems functioning, exercise, rest, and digest food. It is important to consider that this rate varies based on your age, body size, and gender. Additionally, your metabolism is impacted by factors like stress, how much/little you eat, activity levels, and sleep quality. 

Your body cannot run on a continuous loop. You know that you don’t feel your best when you’re sleep deprived. You feel exhausted from even the most mundane tasks. You lack motivation. You are more temperamental. 

During sleep, your body is working hard to maintain your health. If you aren’t sleeping enough (at least 7 hours is ideal), your resting metabolic rate slows down. This causes the body to store fat as a method of energy conservation and can contribute to that excess weight you feel like you can’t get rid of. 

Setting Yourself Up For Success

If you want to experience better sleep to reset your metabolism, here are some tips that will help you become your healthiest self. 

1. Create an environment conducive for sleep

If possible, place distractions out of the way when you’re trying to sleep. If you see your work computer looming in the corner, you may start thinking about all the tasks you have to do the next day. Likewise, if you have your phone within arm’s reach, you may reach for your phone as a distraction which can keep you up for longer. Additionally, keep your room dark and cool. Darkness cues your body to release melatonin, which helps you fall asleep faster. Sleeping in a cool room lowers your body’s core temperature, which helps signal that it is time to sleep. 

2. Time your meals right

Make sure you are eating at consistent times throughout the day to prevent hunger at night and keep your body on a routine. Eating on a schedule regulates your circadian rhythm to digest food at proper times. If you don’t eat enough during the day, it can increase the likelihood of food binges at night. Eating right before bed leads our digestive system to attempt to absorb food as it simultaneously tries to ‘reset’ itself for sleep. 

3. Prioritize eating protein throughout the day

Protein promotes a healthy weight management and appetite regulation throughout the day. If you’re not sleeping enough, chances are you will reach for the convenient and often less healthy option. Starting your day with a high protein breakfast and continuing to consume protein with your other meals throughout the day combats cravings to snack on sugary and fatty foods.

4. Be mindful of food and drink consumption before bed

If you’re hungry before bed, you should eat! Going to be while your stomach is growling can make falling asleep feel impossible. Hunger pains keep your brain alert and lower your blood sugar levels which may trigger late night binges on anything in sight. Consumption of a small, nutrient dense snack can combat difficulty falling asleep. However, snacking on large quantities of foods heavy in simple carbs, sugars, and fat will have the opposite effect. 

Here are some night time snack ideas that can help with sleep:

  • Handful of nuts – nuts contain fiber and protein which will keep you full. Additionally, certain nuts like walnuts and almonds contain the mineral magnesium which can calm you down and reduce stress
  • String cheese – 1 stick contains around 7 grams of protein which will help you keep you full!  
  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter – complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread help prevent blood sugar spikes. Pair your toast with peanut butter for added protein and healthy fats!
  • Square of dark chocolate – dark chocolate is high in magnesium which helps calm down your body and aid in sleep.

If you haven’t downloaded our full metabolism-boosting snack list yet, head here to get over 20 snack ideas, a snack planner, and more!

The bottom line 

Getting sleep is crucial for your metabolism to function optimally! While many factors contribute to your metabolic rate, there are many factors still in your control. A good night of rest will set yourself up to make healthier choices and increase your energy throughout the day. 

Hi lady! I’m a registered dietitian and metabolism expert with over 7 years experience helping women fix their metabolism, feel more confident in their body, and feel better than ever. I’ve worked with 100s of women to help them to make reaching their nutrition goals doable and simple using my unique 3-phased approach that focuses on mindset, mindfulness, and metabolism.

You can learn more about my high-touch, personalized coaching program and how it can change your life forever here.

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** This article was written by Ava Stover, nutrition intern. Fact checked by Allison Tallman RD.

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