More ways to lose weight after 40
7. Get more sleep to burn more calories.
As any perimenopausal woman or hardworking man over 35 can tell you, sleep gets ever more elusive as you age. It's not just that we're busier and more stressed. We also have multiple physical issues, from back pain to snoring to night sweats, any of which can interfere with getting a good night's sleep.
Yet, paradoxically, getting a good night's sleep is one of the keys to losing weight. In recent years, significant research has shown that lack of sleep is directly connected to weight gain because of the actions of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that control hunger and satiety, or feeling full. One key study concluded, "Sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism." Here's how it works: When you're sleep deprived, ghrelin levels increase at the same time that leptin levels decrease. The result is more craving, less feeling full. Add to that the fact that sleep-deprived people often crave "energy" foods, which tend to be sweet or salty, and you can see how small changes in your routine can add up to big weight gain.
And there's more. Recently, studies have shown that our bodies are most metabolically active while we sleep, and that sleeping less than six hours impairs glucose tolerance, a key precursor to diabetes. So the longer we sleep, the more efficiently our inner fat-burning and sugar-processing engines function.
Add these all together and you can see a pattern emerging: The older we are, the harder it is to get a good night's sleep -- and the less we sleep, the more likely it is we'll gain weight. What to do? Take steps to combat sleep problems and your waistline will benefit, too.