(CNN) — While exercise and a healthy diet are crucial to shedding pounds, getting some rest can be a big part of getting slim.
Though we exercise and watch what we eat, sometimes the weight just won’t budge. It turns out a little more sleep may help tip the scales in your favor.
“There’s two hormones that are really affected by a lack of sleep,” said registered dietician and nutritionist Tamara Melton.
One is leptin, which tells fat cells to basically decrease appetite, and the other is ghrelin, which tells the body to increase appetite. Skipping sleep may lead to another sneaky source of weight gain.
“People who are staying awake longer, they’re often snacking on things, but they’re not healthy foods,” said Melton. “So they found that about 300 extra calories that people tend to eat, they’re not healthy calories, and that could lead to weight gain.”
She says foods rich in tryptophan, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, complex carbohydrates found in cereals and crackers, and fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, may help support a good night’s sleep.
Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, chocolate. They may disrupt your sleep.
Aim for eight hours each night and it may help you win your battle with the scale.