Weight loss and sleep
Have you been struggling to lose weight? Have you tried diet, exercise, and even weight loss pills, but nothing seems to be doing the trick? The trouble may not be with the things you’re doing while you’re awake, but rather the simple fact that you are awake. Studies have shown that getting more sleep and better quality sleep can help you shed pounds without expensive fad diets. So if you really want to get rid of those excess pounds once and for all, why not spend less time counting calories and more time in bed?
The first reason that sleeping more causes you to lose less weight is probably the most obvious. The more hours you spend sleeping, the fewer hours you have to eat. We all have cravings for certain foods that aren’t good for us, and the longer we’re awake, the longer we have to fight those cravings. Plus, sleep deprivation reduces deductive reasoning skills, so we have less will power to resist.
Getting a good night’s rest makes you feel energized and awake the next day. If you sleep well the night before, you’re more likely to be able to get up and go work out. Sufficient sleep can give you the energy to work out harder and for longer periods of time, further fueling your weight loss efforts.
We used to believe that you we hungry when your stomach was empty and full when your stomach had no room left, but we know better than that now. We now know more about hormones and other chemicals in the body and how they affect hunger. One of these chemicals is cortisol. Excess cortisol not only causes us to feel hungry when we’ve had enough to eat; it can also affect the amount of fat we store. On top of this, cortisol decreases memory retention along with other stress inducing side effects. Getting sufficient sleep helps return the cortisol balance to normal.
Two other chemicals that have recently been shown to be affected by the amount of sleep your get are the hormones leptin, which makes you feel hungry, and ghrelin, which makes you feel full. Reduced amounts of sleep can reduce ghrelin levels and increase leptin levels, causing you to feel you need to eat more when you’ve actually had enough.
Another side effect of sleep deprivation is a change in the way the body metabolizes carbohydrates. Most individuals have problems fully digesting carbs without sufficient sleep. This means that instead of being burned for energy; these calories are being stored as fat. Plus, excess carbs in your system can cause a rise in blood sugar levels, along with insulin resistance; these are both symptoms of type II diabetes.
And if all these reasons aren’t good enough for you, lack of sleep also drops the level of human growth hormone in your system. While HGH helps children grow bigger, it affects the percentage of fat in proportion to muscle in adults. Decreased levels of this hormone send even more of the food you eat to be stored as fat reserves, further hindering your weight loss.
So if you’re really serious about losing weight, make it a goal to get a full night’s sleep every night. You’ll likely start seeing those pounds fly off in no time.