If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably already know you should eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. But did you know sleep also plays an important role in your ability to lose weight?
Several recent studies have indicated that getting less than six hours of sleep each night can increase your risk of gaining weight. Lack of sleep also makes losing weight more difficult. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, participants who had their sleep reduced only lost half as much fat as those who has adequate rest even though they followed the same diet and exercise plan.
How Sleep Affects Weight Loss?
Leptin is an appetite suppressant. It sends a signal to your brain that you’re full. If you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels may decrease. When leptin levels are low, your stomach feels empty.
Ghrelin does the opposite. It is an appetite stimulant. It tells your brain to grab the nearest doughnut. If you’re not getting enough ‘’shut-eye’’, levels of ghrelin are increased, which means you want to eat everything and anything.
Cortisol, which is another hormone associated with weight gain, also rises when you don’t get enough sleep. The combination of increased cortisol and ghrelin along with decreased leptin may make you feel hungry all the time.
But there is more to the problem than just hormone fluctuations. Decreased sleep may also lead you to make poor food choices. Being sleep deprived can really affect your judgement. Imagine being exhausted and hungry. For example, you know a big bowl of ice cream is not the best choice. But your willpower is low, and you don’t have the clarity to make the best food choices.
Being tired may also decrease how physically active you are. It’s easy to skip a workout if you’re ready to fall asleep on your feet.
Making Sleep Work in Your Favour
It’s pretty clear you’re probably stacking the deck against yourself if you’re depriving yourself of sleep. The good news is, you can do something about lack of sleep and increase your chances of weight loss success.
Although there is not a hard and fast rule about how much sleep to get, aiming for between seven and nine hours of sleep a night is a good goal. Try to establish a sleep schedule. Although you don’t have to fall asleep at exactly the same time each night, being consistent promotes better sleep.
If you have trouble falling asleep, do something to unwind, such as listening to music or meditating. Relaxing activities added to a bedtime ritual will help you drift off easier. Also, be careful what you eat and drink close to bedtime. Too much caffeine can disrupt your ability to fall and stay asleep.
It’s also helpful to create the right environment for sleep. Most people prefer to sleep in a dark, quite room that’s not too warm. Invest in a comfortable bed and create the environment that works for you.
It may not always be possible to get a good night’s sleep. Late nights out, overnight work and crying babies can lead to a lack of sleep, but do your best to catch up. Take a nap or sleep a little bit longer the next night. Remember to make sleep a priority. It’s good for your waistline and your overall health.
Nutrition Souq Top Phone Apps For Monitoring Sleep:
SLEEPBOT (iOS, Android)
Sleepbot has three major features: a motion-tracker, a sound-recorder and a smart alarm. You can choose to activate one, all or any combination of these features simply by tapping a checkmark next to each — making this app one of the easiest to navigate of all the sleep apps.
SLEEP TIME+ (iOS, Android)
Another solid combination of sleep tracking and smart alarm clock, using your iPhone's sensors to measure the quality of your sleep and wake you up at the optimal time.
PZIZZ (iOS, Android)
Pzizz helps users slip gently into sleep using a combination of music, words, sound effects and binaural beats to help you de-stress and re-energize.
Author: MaryAnn DePietro
Author Bio: A health and fitness writer with 13 years’ experience, MaryAnn has been extensively published in magazines, newspapers and websites. Her work has appeared on websites, such as Healthline, Symptom Find, Livestrong and Modern Moms. MaryAnn earned degrees in both respiratory therapy at American River College in Sacramento and rehabilitation education at Penn State University. MaryAnn lives in northern California where she trains for 10K marathons, plays golf and hangs out with her husband and son.