Sleep is a critical element for balancing energy and stamina during the entire day. Sleep also supports balance in hormone levels impacting body weight and fat levels. Apart from this, getting your shut-eye can ensure a slim and svelte figure. Yes, sleep has been implicated in weight loss as well.
Link Between Weight Loss and Sleep
Those who get around 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults, generally are not overweight. Sleep supports weight loss. How is this so? The amount of sleep you get influences two hormones in the human body which impact appetite levels:
Ghrelin leads to weight and appetite gain. Leptin lowers appetite and causes weight loss. Lack of sleep leads to a disturbance in hormonal balance and insufficient sleep leads to an increase in ghrelin and decrease in leptin levels. This can lead to massive weight gain.
Sleep and Diet
The link between sleep and diet is a well documented one. According to researchers, people who are sleep deprived are also obese. Studies show not enough sleep can even undo the benefits of dieting.In one study, dieters were put on different sleep schedules but those who cut back on sleep were found to be losing less weight. Sleep deprived people experienced half the fat loss compared to the well-rested ones.
Lack of Sleep Affects Fat Cells
The University of Chicago scientists coined the term “metabolic grogginess” for fat cells feeling the adverse impact of sleep deprivation. Hormones that control the fat cell namely master storage hormone insulin is completely disrupted and insulin sensitivity fell by more than 30 percent according to some studies.
Why is this bad news? When insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty vids and lipids from the blood stream and prevent storage. Insulin resistance rises and fats in the blood circulate settling down into wrong places and tissues like the liver. This not only causes weight gain but also initiates diabetes.
Lack of Sleep= High Food Cravings
Hunger is not always related to willpower. Now researchers have found it is linked to sleep as well. Sleeping less than 6 hours in the night can cause brain areas to become activated increasing ghrelin and reducing leptin thereby creating a battle making it impossible to lose weight.
Cortisol, a stress hormone also activates reward centres that make you crave food. This is also activated when you don’t sleep enough. Just one night of no sleep can impair decision making and the capacity to think rationally when it comes to food.
Sleep Loss Cuts into Fat Loss
Sleep deficit decreases protein synthesis causing muscle loss and leading to higher injuries as well as fat gain. Lack of sleep also makes it impossible for your body to recover from exercise through slowing down the production of growth hormone.
Poor sleep translates into slow wave sleep of lesser time duration. This stops a secretion of the growth hormone. This hormone prevents anti ageing and fat burning. To add to this further, it also facilities muscle recovery during exercise. So lesser growth hormones mean the worst outcome for those trying to lose weight.
Sleep deficit makes you gain in hunger and fat storage. Consider how easily you go for a bag of chips when you are tired- comfort foods are there to relieve stress and unfortunately, they are relied on when the body is suffering from sleep loss.
Sleep loss can make for a very difficult time when it comes to trying to lose weight.
How Sleep Promotes Weight Loss
How does sleep help weight loss?
Prevents Late Night Snacks
The number 1 cause of weight gain in cultures and countries across the world is when you are snacking late at night.
According to the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, over 7 days, sleep restricted subjects gained more weight than well-rested counterparts because they ate during the early morning and late night hours.
Helps You Burn Calories
After you have slept well in the night, your body works out calories even when you are not in the gym.
Normal sleepers’ resting energy expenditure according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, is more than sleep deprived counterparts. More calories are also burnt after the meal as compared to tired counterparts.
Boosts Loss of Fat
If you eat the same but sleep less, you won’t drop the same amount of fat according to University of Chicago researchers. Sleep is directly linked to weight loss and half of the weight lost was fat only for well-rested persons compared to a quarter for tired people.
Encourages Portion Control
Sleep deficit can create a tendency to overeat, as hormonal imbalances are causing a real problem. Sleep disturbances can prove deadly for the ability of the brain to make right decisions regarding eating and satiation. Portion control and self-discipline are only possible when you are well rested.
Leads Well-Informedmed Decisions (and Choices)
Food and nutrition are inextricably linked. You can eat lots of junk food with zero nutritional value and it will only lead to weight gain. On the other hand, you can cut down on fatty foods and increase lean carb and protein content in your diet.
The part of your brain involved in decision making namely the frontal lobe is associated with sleep. Sleep deficit impacts the frontal lobe adversely and affects the capacity of the brain to make informed decisions and choices.
This includes decisions about fitness and nutrition. You can resist that chocolate muffin better if you have 8 hours of sleep!
Considering how important a well rested person is in a workplace or a personal community setting, sleep is essential to effective functioning. Sleep is also correlated with plenty of energy and prevention of obesity.
With the Information Age upon us and youngsters on a mission to conquer exams and CEOs driving themselves night after night to get that target, sleep loss has become one of the leading causes of obesity around the world.
Research has shown that a majority of the teenagers in the world are not getting enough sleep or exercise. This has led to a rise in the incidence of obesity and a spurt in lifestyle diseases.
To change this, sleep needs to be an important part of living and it should be given the importance it deserves.