Adequate Sleep and Weight Loss: Understanding the Connection

According to a recent poll, more than forty percent of Americans get a minimum of 6 hours or less of sleep every night. Waking up groggy and cranky can indicate that you aren’t getting an adequate amount of sleep. However, there are numerous studies which have proven that poor sleeping habits may affect your overall health and it can increase your risk of developing serious illnesses. Instead of reaching for several cups of coffee in the morning, try setting a goal of getting more shut-eye on a daily basis. There is also evidence supporting that people who get enough sleep, more than 7-9 hours every night, are more likely to have lower BMI than those who are sleep deprived.

In short, if you are trying to lose weight, getting more sleep is as important as exercising and dieting.

Adequate Sleep Allows You to Burn More Calories

Not only do you get more energy for your exercise the next day, but your body also burns calories even while you sleep. In a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it is found that people who get enough sleep burn 5 percent more calories than those who are perpetually tired. In addition, it also helps burn 20 percent more calories after a meal compared to people who are sleep deprived.


Boost Fat Loss

Even when you eat the same diet as your gym buddy, if you are not getting the right amount of sleep or rest that your body needs, you will not lose as much fat as them. Numerous studies show that people who slept for 8 and a half hours per night tend to burn more fats when exercising.

Affects Your Decision Making Skills

Sleep deprivation not only affects your overall health or weight loss efforts the rest of your body including your decision-making skills. Being deprived can dull activity in the frontal lobe of your brain. The frontal lobe of your brain is in charge of controlling your decision-making skills.

Have you had trouble focusing, making tough decisions, or managing your impulse decisions? When you are sleep deprived it is easy to cave into temptations and seek things that make you feel good. You are more likely to indulge in comfort food cravings in the process due to your brains reward center revs up when you are tired. This causes you to potentially eat more than a typical portion size.

So if you are trying to lose weight, the last thing that you want to skimp on is adequate sleep on a daily basis. Think of getting your zzz’s as your brains only source of nutrition. You need an adequate amount in order for your body to heal itself and function properly.


Prevent Late Night Snacking

One note you need to remember, the longer time you are awake, the more likely you can consume more calories that you don’t need. Late night snacking can cause you to gain up to 2 pounds every week. Getting enough sleep will prevent you from nighttime grazing or snacking. Late night isn’t necessarily healthy choices either. Most people tend to snack on chips, crackers, cookies, and other junk food.

Helps Control Your Hunger Hormones

Sleep is an important part of brain healthy nutrition. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. If you aren’t getting enough restorative REM-sleep on a regular basis, your body’s hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, don’t function properly.

Ghrelin sends signals to the brain to that you are hungry. Levels are naturally higher before you eat and lower after eating.

Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by fat cells in your body. When the hormone is secreted, it signals to your brain that you are full and helps suppress your hunger.

When you are sleep deprived, your body decreases the amount of leptin secreted and causes it to produce more ghrelin. After eating, you may not feel full or feel satisfied. The increased ghrelin causes you to consume more calories than you should be eating to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight.

We all know that our lives are busier than ever and it shows. Skimping on sleep can cause weight gain and numerous other health problems including high blood pressure, obesity, and more. Not to mention, our busy lifestyle also leaves us stressed out. Stress can also wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts too. When you are stressed out, your body produces more cortisol and it contributes to belly fat.

It is important to set up your weight loss journey for success and add more to your busy schedule. Getting enough zzz’s at night is just as important as reducing the number of calories that you are consuming and exercising. Check out our other weight loss tips or feel free to comment below if you have any questions or post ideas.

Do you get an adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis? Were you aware of the connection between getting enough zzz’s and weight loss?