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Dr. Oz explores weight loss, diet and sleep: Avoid caffeine and blue light

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Lack of sleep can cause problems ranging from migraines to depression. It can even prevent you from achieving your weight loss goals. But by tweaking your diet and avoiding caffeine, you can end your insomnia without prescription drugs, said Dr. Mehmet Oz on his Sept. 3 talk show.

Sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, author of "The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Simple Rules for Losing Weight While You Sleep," told Dr. Oz that a new study revealed insights into the link between diet and sleep. Researchers discovered that some people are more sensitive to caffeine. For those individuals, drinking coffee is more likely to lead to insomnia.

In addition, Dr. Oz pointed out that you may be consuming caffeine without realizing it. Some pain medications contain caffeine, for example. And check the label of sodas, cocoa drinks and ice cream. From that yummy mocha chip ice cream to that diet Dr. Pepper, caffeine lurks in a variety of foods and beverages.

To improve your sleep, eliminate all sources of caffeine from your diet six hours prior to bedtime. Safe substitutes for coffee include herbal tea and chicken broth. If you forget and drink coffee late in the afternoon, eat broccoli, which causes the body to eliminate caffeine more rapidly.

But what if you surrender your caffeine and still can't sleep? Researchers suggest that you try turning off those electronic devices in your bedroom, reported the Washington Post on Sept. 1.

When you turn off your bedside lamp, you may assume that it's fine to leave on your smartphone and iPad. But those blue light emitted from those devices prevent the release of melatonin. And that hormone plays a key role in making you feel sleepy.

If you watch TV, play a video game or check your Facebook page while you're in bed, you're making it more difficult to fall asleep. "The premise to remember is [that] all light after dusk is unnatural,” said sleep researcher Steven Lockley of Harvard Medical School. "All of us push our sleep later than we actually would if we didn't have electric light."

Several studies have documented how lack of sleep can interfere with weight loss. Dr. William Lagakos, author of "The poor, misunderstood calorie: calories proper," has issued several reports on the metabolic consequences of extended sleep deprivation. Study participants tend to eat more food. At the same time, their metabolic rate decreases.

In addition, he emphasizes that a typical day in our modern lifestyle can cause our circadian rhythms to be impacted. It doesn't take a trip around the world and subsequent jet lag. By spending the day inside, then devoting your evening to your computer games, you are more apt to gain weight. Or as Dr. Lagakos summarizes: "Screw with circadian biology and metabolism pays the price."

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