- Do you struggle to maintain your weight?
- Do you have trouble controlling your hunger, or crave too many “forbidden foods” throughout the day?
- Do you have trouble concentrating or focusing during the day?
Or perhaps you feel like you’re doing everything right, and yet you just can’t lose that last [email protected]#$% X-number of lbs you’ve been hanging onto. Maybe you blame it on genetics, or maybe you’re not training properly, or it must be time to try a different diet or supplements.
Have you ever considered that the culprit might be sleep?
As it turns out, even with the proper diet and a regular fitness routine, if your sleep sucks, you’re in trouble.
When it comes to weight loss, we always tend to bring up two major contenders: diet and exercise. While those are absolutely essential, there’s a key component missing. What rewards those diet and exercise efforts? Sleep!
Check this out:
Not sleeping enough—less than seven hours of sleep per night—can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In the study, dieters were put on different sleep schedules. When their bodies received adequate rest, half of the weight they lost was from fat. However when they cut back on sleep, the amount of fat lost was cut in half—even though they were on the same diet. What’s more, they felt significantly hungrier, were less satisfied after meals, and lacked energy to exercise. Overall, those on a sleep-deprived diet experienced a 55 percent reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts. (source: Shape)
Wow. There’s no denying, sleep plays a very important role in fat loss.
Sleep and Insulin… and Why that Matters for Weight Loss
When your body can’t use insulin properly, known as insulin resistance or impaired insulin sensitivity, your blood sugar levels get too high. This can be caused by poor diet (particularly too much sugar and carbs), sedentary lifestyle, and — you guessed it — lack of sleep.
According to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, after four nights of sleep deprivation (sleep time was only 4.5 hours per night), study participants’ insulin sensitivity was 16 percent lower, while their fat cells’ insulin sensitivity was 30 percent lower, and rivaled levels seen in those with diabetes or obesity. The study’s senior author, Matthew Brady, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, told CNN:
‘This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restriction. Fat cells need sleep, and when they don’t get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy.’ (source: Mercola.com)
In other words, lack of sleep jacks up your hormones which certainly does NOT help your weight.
Other Things Lack of Sleep Does… or Doesn’t Do
- Lack of sleep makes you crave food. (Usually unhealthy ones.) And caffeine.
- Lack of sleep means you don’t have enough energy to get in a solid workout.
- Your body releases the most growth hormone during sleep, which produces muscle (and “muscle is the enemy of fat”).
- Poor sleep increases the stress hormone Cortisol, which has been shown to increase body fat and interferes with the production of growth hormone.
How to Sleep Well
Here are some rules of thumb for optimal sleep:
- Seven to eight hours a night. Minimum.
- No TV before bed. This is a tough one, especially if you’re used to drifting off to late-night Friends reruns. But it seriously makes a HUGE difference.
- Don’t have any light in your room.
- Don’t exercise less than 3 hours before bedtime.
- Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. You might think it helps you sleep because it makes you tired, but it actually prevents you from entering the deep sleep your body needs.
- Keep your bedroom cool, between 60-68 degrees.
- Don’t eat 3 hours before bed.