As the sun rises earlier over the next few months, you may also feel more inclined to rise a little earlier. And with the longer days, you may even find yourself staying up later each night.
Of course, there’s a biological reason why we tend to run on less sleep more easily during these long, summer days. Our bodies produce less melatonin—the hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle—in direct response to more sunlight.
But that doesn’t mean you should scrimp on your shuteye all summer long. Instead, I suggest you nip the habit in the bud before it becomes an even bigger problem… quite literally… for your waistline.
In fact, research suggest that the hard work you put in to keep your weight in check (and lead a healthy lifestyle in general) may all crumble under the summertime stars.
That is, unless you commit to keeping a consistent sleep schedule. Here’s why you may want to start sleeping IN this summer…
Short sleep linked to deadly belly fat
A recent study conducted by researchers with the Mayo Clinic looked at what happens to eating habits—and waistlines—in healthy adults after just two weeks of short sleep.1
They invited 12 healthy, non-obese people to participate in two, 21-day inpatient sleep study sessions. In both sessions, for the first four days, the participants had free access to food and were allowed to sleep for nine hours each night.
Then, for the first session, participants were split into two groups. For the next two weeks, half enjoyed their normal nine hours of sleep and the other half got “short sleep” (four hours). At the end of two weeks, both groups had three days and nights of “recovery” (no guidance), followed by a washout period of three months when they went home.
After three months, the participants came back for the second session and underwent the same process—except they were placed in the opposite sleep group.
It’s worth noting that, during both of these study sessions, the researchers measured the participants’ calorie intake, calories burned, body weight, body composition, fat distribution, and appetite biomarkers.
It turns out, the participants consumed more than 300 extra calories a day during the sleep- restricted sessions compared to the normal, nine-hour sessions. They also gained “significantly more weight” during short-sleep sessions.
And perhaps worst of all, they developed more “visceral fat,” as shown on CT scans, after just TWO WEEKS of short sleep. So, just imagine what happens when you don’t get enough sleep month after month, year after year!
(Experts consider this type of fat the most dangerous, as it wraps around the abdominal organs deep inside your body—and may alter how they work. Research also links visceral fat to an increased risk of serious health problems.)
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to NATURALLY improve your sleep, even if you don’t necessarily feel the urge to turn down the sheets this summer…
Catch more ZZZs
Over the years, I’ve treated lots of doom-scrolling, stressed-out, sleep-deprived New Yorkers. But I don’t turn to dangerous prescription sleep aids.
For one, those drugs come with a slew of side effects. Plus, there are many things you can do to wind down quicker and stay asleep longer… without resorting to drugs.
Here’s what I suggest:
1. Get moving daily. (And maybe add some weights, too!) We already know that getting some exercise every day will work wonders for your sleep. And, contrary to popular belief, resistance exercises may benefit your sleep more than hard-core cardio workouts…Researchers with Iowa State University recently studied the effect of regular exercise on sleep habits in about 400 previously inactive adults.2 At the study’s outset, the researchers divided the participants into four groups:
- An aerobic exercise group: Subjects worked out for 60 minutes a day, three times a week, on treadmills, bikes, or ellipticals.
- A resistance exercise group: Subjects performed resistance exercises, such as leg presses or stretching exercises, for 60 minutes a day, three times a week.
- A combination group: Subjects performed both aerobic and resistance exercises for a total of about 60 minutes a day, three times a week.
- A control group: Subjects didn’t exercise at all.
The men and women also completed a sleep study at baseline and after 12 months of exercising.
It turns out, sleep duration at 12 months:
- Decreased by 0.6 minutes in the aerobic group.
- Increased by 13 minutes in the resistance group.
- Increased by 2 minutes in the combined group.
- Increased by 4 minutes in the control group.
As you can see, those in the resistance exercise group experienced the biggest gains in their sleep. They also experienced the biggest jump in “sleep efficiency,” which refers to the ratio of total sleep time to total time spent in bed.
So, clearly, when it comes to achieving good sleep, there’s something important about giving your muscles a good workout and stretch. (Refer to page 7 for some other ideas for how to “re-energize your workouts.”)
2. Seek out sleep-inducing supplements. There are five nutritional supplements that I regularly recommend to my sleepless patients and readers:
- 5-HTP. This supplement can induce drowsiness, regulate your body’s sleep/wake cycle, and support adrenal glands. Safe and effective doses range anywhere from 100 mg to 5,000 mg per day, right before bedtime. Start with the smallest dose and work your way up, 100 mg at a time, until you can consistently drift off to sleep quickly.
- SAM-e. This amazing amino acid helps regulate your body’s biological rhythms. I recommend taking 400 mg every morning.
Then, if you still struggle with sleep, you can mix and match any of the following three supplements until you find the best combination that works for you:
- L-theanine.This calming agent can be found in green tea and in supplement form. It relaxes your mind and body so that you can drift off to sleep. I recommend taking 200 mg, about 30 minutes before bedtime, and 200 mg more in the morning when you wake.
- GABA.This neurotransmitter helps your brain relax. I recommend 800 mg, about 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Melatonin.I can’t overstate the importance of the hormone melatonin. While your body generates it to facilitate sleep, your body’s natural production of it drops significantly during the summer and with age. I recommend taking 3 mg of melatonin to start, but no more than 20 mg per day.
(Note: If you’re on any type of medication, especially an antidepressant, make sure to speak with your doctor before adding any new supplement to your regimen.)
3. Consider CBD oil. I’m not exaggerating when I say that cannabidiol (CBD) has transformed my medical practice. It’s one of my first prescriptions in place of many pharmaceuticals, including prescription sleep aids.
I like CBD oil because the dosing can be individualized.
To find the dose that’s best for you, I recommend starting with a small amount of CBD oil. Then, work your way up until you find you can fall asleep easily… and STAY asleep for a full seven to nine hours. This method is known as titration. (Luckily, CBD is safe and non-addictive—meaning you can’t overdose on it.)
4. Invest in room-darkening shades or curtains. According to a recent study by Northwestern University, even a small amount of ambient light in your bedroom at night can disrupt your sleep cycle.3
In many homes, adding room-darkening shades or curtains will fix the problem. But you may also need to cover electronic devices, such as alarm clocks or TV buttons. (A sleep mask will do the trick, too.)
Just make sure to keep a flashlight handy on your beside table for when you need to get up in the middle of the night.
5. Beware of blue light. Research shows that the blue light shining from all your electronic devices—including your smartphone, e-reader, tablet, or TV—blocks the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. So, make sure you turn off all your electronic devices—or put space between your body and the device—at least 30 minutes before you plan to turn in. This will send your body the signal that it’s time to wind down.
Of course, I have outlined even MORE drug-free strategies on how to get better quality and more regular sleep in my Perfect Sleep Protocol. For more information, or to enroll today, call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code GOV3Y601. Not only will improved sleep help keep your waistline in check, but it most certainly will improve your overall health (and mood), too!
 “Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Energy Intake, Energy Expenditure, and Visceral Obesity.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2022; 79 (13): 1254. doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2022.01.038
 “Resistance Exercise May Be Best Workout for a Good Night’s Sleep.” Medscape, 3/10/22. (medscape.com/viewarticle/970082)
 “Light exposure during sleep impairs cardiometabolic function.” PNAS, 2022; 119(12): e2113290119. Doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2113290119