We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important to keep our brains and body functioning normally, but did you know that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, especially around your stomach?

Studies have shown that those who get less than 7 hours sleep a night tend to gain more weight, as well as make unhealthy food choices.

Quality sleep is essential for us to cope with our everyday lives, but losing weight while you sleep is a bonus!

1. Don’t go to bed hungry

If you’re hungry when you go to bed, it can stop you getting a decent night’s sleep. A small snack before bed like a banana, Greek yogurt or oatmeal will fill you up just enough to help you drift off. Oatmeal and bananas also contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that’s believed to induce sleep because it helps trigger the release of sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin in the brain.

2. Don’t have a large meal before you go to bed

While you shouldn’t go to bed hungry, you shouldn’t have a large meal just before bedtime either.

If you have a big helping of dinner just before bed, it can cause a spike in blood sugar and raise insulin levels, which can lead to weight gain.

Having large, late-night meals is also bad for your digestion, and has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and cardiometabolic disease.

3. Eat foods high in tryptophan

As mentioned earlier, tryptophan helps to prepare the body for sleep, and some foods are naturally rich in this chemical. Most protein foods contain small amounts of tryptophan, and larger amounts are found in yogurt, milk, dates, oats, bananas, poultry, eggs, and peanuts.

Research also suggests that tryptophan-rich foods should be combined with carbohydrates to get the most sleep-inducing benefits.

4. Drink a cup of herbal tea

Herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger and peppermint are calming, as well as being said to help with weight loss. You can also buy special “sleep tea” blends in shops now (they usually contain passionflower and valerian), which help to relax you and encourage sleep.

5. Do some resistance training before bed

One of the best ways to slim down is to add some resistance training to your evening routine.

A study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition reported that people who performed resistance exercises had a higher resting metabolic rate for an average of 16 hours following their workout.