You probably already know that diet and exercise play a major role in losing weight, but did you know that there are other factors as well? For example, getting enough sleep every night will help you to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. These are things that most people do not even consider when they struggling losing weight. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why sleep is an important consideration in weight loss.
Weight Loss & Sleep Deprivation
When you’re tired, you often rely on the coffee house to get you going again and most people get what they are craving – which means tons of calories. So, lack of sleep can lead to adding several hundred calories a day to your diet. In addition, if you are tired, you probably aren’t going to exercise, and you aren’t likely to take the time to make a healthy dinner either and might just go for some fast food. Bottom line: Lack of sleep affects your life and indirectly affects weight loss.
You also should know that our brains do not work at full capacity when we haven’t gotten enough sleep. So, if you are trying to exercise your willpower and stick to your calorie goal for the day, your brain is going to have a much harder time doing it.
In addition, you’ve got reward centers in your brain that affect how much you eat. When you don’t get enough sleep, those reward centers start up, and that means that your brain is going to tell you to eat to activate them.
The bottom line is that when you get enough sleep, you have a much easier time controlling your appetite and eating healthy, but you have a lot working against you when you do not. When you can’t control your appetite, it makes it very hard for you to stick to losing weight.
The Research Linking Sleep & Weight Loss
There is actually quite a bit of research that links together weight loss and sleep deprivation. For example, a study published in the AJCN found that those who didn’t get enough sleep were more apt to snack late at night – particularly with snacks that were high in carbohydrates. Another study showed that those with sleep deprivation ate bigger portions.
There are some pretty specific reasons why this happens. First, you should understand that 8 hours a day is not just a suggestion – it is the actual amount that people need every night. If you don’t get it, your body doesn’t work at optimal efficiency. But specifically, there are hormones in your body that go out of whack when you don’t get enough sleep. Two of them are ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin tells your brain that you need to eat. Leptin tells you when you’re full. Guess what happens when you do not get enough sleep? Your ghrelin production goes up and your leptin production goes down.
How to Get Enough Sleep
So, how do you get enough sleep? One tip is to make sure that you don’t exercise at least four hours before you go to bed. Another is to skip watching television in bed. Even if you’re tired, if you are watching a really good show then you could easily stay up later than you wanted.
You also want to make sure to turn out the light. In fact, many experts recommend that you get a good sleep mask. That’s because your body responds to darkness and makes you ready to fall asleep. But even a light from the hallway can keep you from getting to that stage.
Most people think that in order to lose weight, they need to focus on eating few calories and increase their exercise. But they often fail to take a good look at their sleep habits. Over the last few decades, people are busier than ever and people tend to get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. Adequate sleep not only allows your brain to function properly but it can also keep your waistline in check too. So, get more sleep tonight.