8 Ways to Sleep Better at Night


Puppy sleeping on paws

Do you ever wonder why doctors, health experts, and your mom are always bugging you about getting enough sleep? A good night’s rest is vital for health and wellbeing, but essential when it comes to weight control.

Sleep maintains a balance of the appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. When you do not get enough sleep, your levels of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry, increase. Simultaneously, your levels of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, decreases. Therefore, you feel hungrier when you are not well-rested, and even after eating, you feel less satisfied.

Lack of sleep not only disrupts the balance of ghrelin and leptin, but can also decrease the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin, which can lead to increased cravings. You’re more likely to choose takeout and other quick and easy options because you’re too tired to cook. You may decide to skip your workout because you’re too tired to exercise, so all those extra calories you consumed won’t be going anywhere.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, you may want to try the 8 following techniques to help you get some shut-eye:

  1. Reduce your intake of coffee, tea, and diet soda. Avoid or limit Medifast Essential1: Calorie Burn products as well as chocolate or mocha-flavored Medifast Meals which contain caffeine.
  2. Incorporate regular exercise into your day to expend extra energy and as an outlet for stressful thoughts; but avoid exercising within two hours of bedtime (wait 2-3 weeks to begin exercising if you just started the Medifast 5&1 Plan).
  3. Establish a sleep routine by going to bed and getting up at around the same time every day.
  4. Avoid eating or drinking large amounts before bedtime.
  5. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol in the evening.
  6. Decrease stimulation (light, nose, television, computer, cell phone, etc.) a few hours before bed.
  7. Start a relaxing bedtime routine, such as a warm bath with candles or some light reading.
  8. Make a to-do list of priorities and tasks for the next day to keep these thoughts from racing through your mind all night. Once they’re down on paper, you and your mind are free to relax.
Sumi Tohan, RDN, LDN

Author: Sumi Tohan, RDN, LDN

Sumi Tohan, RDN, LDN, is a corporate dietitian with Medifast. She received her bachelor’s degree from Penn State and completed her dietetic internship through the Virginia Department of Health with a focus in public health nutrition. She has experience in health promotion and disease prevention through WIC. After receiving her Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management, she decided to become involved in the treatment of overweight and obesity. She loves being a Marylander thanks to Berger cookies and Crab Chips. She favors hiking with her Jack Russell Terrier, Jacques, and bargain shopping over the gym.


  1. Awesome!!! Thank You. This is perfectly timed for our 12 week Transformation Challenge. Appreciate this very much. Happy 2014

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