Day 4. Water and Sleep
The Science Behind Why Water and Sleep are the Key to Weight Loss
Your body is 60% water. If you’re not rehydrating regularly, you’re jeopardizing your health. Not only does drinking water keep you healthy, it’s also scientifically proven to help you lose weight. If weight loss is your goal, drinking water is a vital part of getting there.
Sleep is just as important as water when it comes to losing weight, being healthy, and living your best life. Making sure you get an adequate amount of sleep is a priority throughout your GetFit21 challenge and beyond.
Why Water and Sleep Matter
When you drink enough water, you...
• Consume fewer calories from liquids
• Replenish water lost through exercise
• Remove toxins that can cause skin issues
• Get an energy boost
• Reduce digestion issues
• Refresh your mood
When you don’t drink enough water you...
• Gain weight from drinking liquid carbohydrates
• Have dry skin
• Are more sleepy
• Get more headaches
• May have a hard time concentrating
• Eat more, because you feel less full
When you get enough sleep, you...
• Feel more awake and alert
• Are more creative
• Have a better memory
• Lose more weight
When you don’t get enough sleep, you...
• Have difficulty thinking clearly
• Are more likely to be in an auto accident
• Have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke
• Are more likely to gain weight
The Science Behind Water and Sleep
You know that water is important for staying healthy, but did you know that it can be a huge help in losing weight? A study published in 2010 found that drinking water impacts how much food you eat later on.1 If you’re having trouble cutting back on what you eat, drinking water can help you feel full and make it easier to cut calories. Drinking enough water also makes sure that your digestive system functions well, helping to flush out toxins and waste matter.
Experts also point out that it’s easy to mistake the sensation of thirst for hunger. You may think you’re hungry when what you really need is a glass of water. If you find yourself feeling worn down, tired, or sluggish, grab a bottle of water instead of a snack.
Science has also found that the amount of sleep you get and your body’s ability to manage weight and blood sugar are closely connected. A University of Chicago study found that when two groups of people ate the same amount of calories, the group that got only five and a half hours of sleep per night lost about six and a half pounds less than the people who had eight and a half hours.2
Make it Happen
It’s no secret that drinking water and getting enough sleep is a healthy thing to do. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy to carry out. That’s why it’s time to make a commitment.
Make a Change: Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day for the next 21 days. Limit your consumption of other beverages to no more than 2 per week. Make the changes you need to in order to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Challenge yourself: Drink at least 96 ounces of water a day for the next 21 days. Eliminate all other beverages from your diet. Make the necessary changes to get eight hours of sleep every night.
Your Next Steps
To drink more water
1. Clear out non-water beverages. Got a fridge full of soda? Toss it. Used to getting a sugary coffee on your way to work? Take another route.
2. Decide how much water to drink. A good rule of thumb is eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If you work up a sweat while exercising, drink a little more.
1. Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 18(2), 300–307. http://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2009.235
2. Beccuti, G., & Pannain, S. (2011). Sleep and obesity. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Meta- bolic Care, 14(4), 402–412. http://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109
3. Keep water nearby. Choose a way to make sure you always have water on hand. Keep a cup next to you while you’re working. Invest in a nice water bottle to sip from throughout the day.
4. Choose a “trigger” to remind you to drink. For example, drink a glass of water every time you check your social media, or every time you go to the bathroom. Or try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink at regular intervals.
5. Drink as soon as you wake up. Pour yourself a glass of water before you go to bed, then drink it all as soon as you wake up. Once you get used to it, you’ll start looking forward to that first glass of the morning.
6. Drink before meals. Drink a glass of water before you eat to determine if you’re really hungry or just thirsty. It can take 15 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full, so extending your meal time by drinking water first can also help keep you from overeating.
7. Track your drinking habits. Use pen and paper, an app, or a marked water bottle to keep track of how much water you’re consuming over the course of your day. Don’t stop until you reach your goal!
8. Switch up your flavors. Add fresh fruit like lemon, lime, or strawberries to your water. Infusing flavor will make your water more interesting, which will make it even easier to keep on drinking.
To Get More Sleep
1. Set a sleep schedule (and stick to it). Choose to go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day - even weekends. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep and wake up at the right times.
2. Creat a ritual. Do the same things every night before you go to bed. A bedtime ritual will signal to your brain that it’s time to start winding down. Choose something that relaxes you, such as taking a warm bath, sipping a cup of herbal tea, or working on a crossword puzzle. Avoid anything stimulating, such as watching TV, surfing the internet, or engaging in heated discussions.
3. Make sure your room is sleep-friendly. If your room is too warm, too bright, or too loud, you’ll have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Make changes such as installing shades, wearing earplugs, investing in a white noise machine, or reducing the temperature. Keep experimenting until you find an environment that’s right for you.
4. Watch what you eat. Consuming foods and drinks that contain caffeine in the afternoon or evening is a great way to get a poor night’s sleep. The same can be said of alcohol, nicotine, or overly large meals. Cut these factors out of your diet completely, or moderate when you have them so they don’t interfere with bedtime.
5. Exercise more. Exercising throughout the day can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. But be careful - exercising too close to bed can make it more difficult to drop off. Try not to exercise within three hours of bed to get the best results.
Think Long Term
Water and sleep are important parts of maintaining your health over the long term. Try these tips to make sure you continue to take great care in these areas once your GetFit21 Challenge is done.
Motivate yourself. Choose non-food related rewards to motivate yourself to keep meeting your water and sleep goals.
Track your progress. Use pen and paper or an app to keep track of how many ounces of water you drink each day.
Soon you’ll find that you’ve had enough to fill a bathtub, a hot tub, or even a pool! The same goes for sleep - keep a log to see how your sleeping habits are progressing. On nights when you find you don’t get enough sleep, make a note of what might have prevented you from resting easy.
Know when to drink more. Keep hydrated by knowing when to drink a little extra. If it’s a hot day or if you’re working up a sweat, add a little extra water to your intake.
Track what you don’t drink. If you used to drink a can of soda every day, or if you couldn’t help but get a sugary coffee drink each morning on your way to work, keep track of what you haven’t had to drink. Add up the calories, carbs, and sugar you’ve skipped since you started drinking water. You may be surprised at how much you’ve cut out.