Expert reveals how to calculate how much sleep you REALLY need & getting it right could help you lose weight

AN EXPERT has revealed how to calculate how much sleep you really need – and getting the equation right could help you lose weight.

Many of us have disturbed sleep – whether that's because of young kids, too much screen time or Covid anxiety – but a lack of zzz's can sabotage any plans to shed extra pounds.

Nutritionist Tamara Willner told the Mail a recent study showed just how much sleep could affect our appetites.

She explained: "When the scientists reduced the participants' sleep to 4.5 hours, participants reported increases in hunger and appetite. In addition, they were more likely to choose snacks with 50 per cent more calories than people with 8.5 hours of sleep."

The study also found that metabolic expenditure declined in people who were sleep deprived.

Tamara said: "The combined effect of increased energy intake and decreased energy expenditure demonstrates how a lack of sleep could facilitate weight gain or prevent weight loss."

Tamara’s tips for getting a better night’s sleep

  • Limit screen time for 1 hour before bed
  • Take 5-10 minutes to list anything go through your mind before bed
  • Avoid caffeine after midday
  • Keep your bedroom cool, 18C max
  • Limit alcohol in the evenings, you might fall straight asleep but you're likely to wake during the night
  • Take a vitamin D supplement
  • Make sure you're eating enough magnesium (spinach, kale, avocado, bananas, cashews & seeds) and zinc (meat, oysters, crab, cheese, cooked lentils & dark chocolate)

Adults need an average of anywhere between seven and nine hours of kip a night, although your individual need could be more or less than this.

Tamara said: "It’s important to note that the precise amount of sleep that we each need varies as we’re all unique".

So how do you calculate your need? Well it's really very simple, although you do need a two-week holiday (or a very considerate boss!)

Tamara says: "Use the first week to unwind and the second week to sleep uninterrupted each night until you wake up."

Work out the average number of hours sleep you're getting during that second week, by waking without an alarm clock, and you'll get a good indication of your "ideal" amount of sleep.

Tamara added the idea that we need more sleep as we age, into our 50s, 60s and beyond, is actually a common myth.

But your sleep may become more disturbed as you age, making you feel tired and like you need more hours in bed.

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