In a bid to lose weight, you will turn to the tried and tested methods of eating healthily and exercising to reach your goals. While both are integral to maintaining a healthy weight, sleep is as important, if not more so, than nutrition.
A good night’s rest can boost the body’s ability to fight weight gain; however, only six out of ten adults in America get more than six hours per night. That means 40% of US grown-ups survive with fewer than six hours per night, which is incredibly unhealthy.
Sleep is the missing link, and here are five reasons why.
1. It’s Linked To Obesity
The links between a lack of sleep and obesity are pretty stark. For instance, adults are 55% more likely to suffer from obesity if they get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. For kids, the figure jumps to an astronomical 89%. Weight gain is prevalent in professions where a lack of sleep is a factor, too. Nurses who get five hours of sleep per night, for example, are 15% more likely to put on weight.
The tough pill to swallow is the one that points out the cycle between putting on weight and poor sleep quality. A factor such as the size of your neck will lead to sleep apnea. However, it’s hard to rectify the situation when you can’t get enough sleep due to putting on weight.
2. A Lack Of Sleep Boosts Your Appetite
This is down to the body’s ability to regulate chemicals. Before you eat, the brain sends out signals that you’re hungry, and they’re created by a hormone called ghrelin. When you’re full, on the other hand, your stomach releases something called leptin. The latter is essential in curbing appetite and maintaining healthy body weight.
Unfortunately, people who don’t sleep well make more ghrelin than leptin, which leads them to feel hungry more often. As a result of these cravings, you’re more likely to consume additional calories or harmful nutrients. Don’t forget about cortisol, either. Cortisol is a chemical that leads to stress and frustrated people eat more. Sleep deprivation is also a significant cause of anxiety according to experts.
3. A Good Night’s Rest Helps You Eat Healthily
The recommended amount of sleep, seven to eight hours per night, is an excellent way to fight negative thoughts and bad decision making. People who are sleepy or tired are less effective at resisting temptation. Activity in the brain’s frontal lobe is slowed, and this is the area you use to make decisions and regulate self-control.
Worse is the fact that sleep deprivation and feelings of pleasure are linked. Therefore, unhealthy foods are not only hard to resist, but more rewarding when you do consume them. Getting a good night’s rest is enough to break the chain and make it easier to stick to a healthy diet and routine. After all, your calorie intake could increase by as much as 22% if you only get four hours (or fewer) of sleep.
4. Sleep Boosts Exercise Motivation
Have you ever lazed about all day and still felt tired? This is down to fatigue caused by a lack of sleep, and it’s this fatigue that stops you from exercising. As you might know, it’s hard to motivate yourself to get up from the sofa, never mind run a 10k or go to the gym for an hour. And, this isn’t the only issue - you’ll have problems even if you do decide to workout.
Studies show that your activity decreases significantly when you’re tired and can’t be bothered to work out. Spending ten hours in bed a night, on the other hand, will boost your speed and reaction times, and eliminate fatigue levels.
5. Sleep Maintains Insulin Efficiency
Sugar and weight gain are very close. So, your body mustn’t become insulin resistant, or else your bloodstream will be packed with refined sugar. Insulin is the hormone that takes it out of the blood and transports it to the cells where it’s used for energy. However, sleep problems might be making you insulin resistant, and you’re not even aware.
All it takes is four hours of sleep a night, and your body’s ability to lower blood sugar levels could plummet by 40%. When this happens, the extra insulin in your system will make you hungrier. Plus, you’ll crave foods that prolong the sugar high, such as carbs. If you do this continually, you’ll have to deal with weight pain and possible type 2 diabetes.
Eating healthily and exercising is essential for fat loss, but they are impacted by sleep. Get a good night’s rest, and you will be more effective at maintaining a well-balanced diet and gym routine.