You have found the perfect exercising routine, and you are strictly following your diet. However, no matter how hard you try, it seems that you can’t shed those extra pounds. Although people are aware of the importance of sleep, most individuals still aren’t aware of the importance of sleep in losing weight. When trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get is just as significant as your diet and exercise. Find out why.
Poor Sleep Is a Major Risk Factor for Obesity
Multiple studies have found a link between weight gain and poor sleep. Although people’s sleep requirements vary, research shows that generally speaking, we require around 7 hours of sleep per night, and sleeping less can lead to weight gain. Some studies suggest that that short sleep duration increases the likelihood of obesity in both adults and children.
Poor Sleep Increases Appetite
Researchers have also found out that people who are sleep deprived have an increased appetite and crave more sweets and junk food. This happens because without proper rest, two major hunger hormones, also known as ghrelin and leptin, become heavily imbalanced. Ghrelin signals hunger in the brain and its levels are high before you eat and low after you eat. Leptin is released from fat cells, and it signals the mind that the body is full. When you are sleep deprived, your body will produce more ghrelin and less leptin, causing you to feel hungrier than usual, and increasing your appetite which may lead to weight gain.
Sleep Helps You Make Healthy Choices
Lack of sleep alters the way your brain works. When you are sleep deprived, it is a lot harder for you to make healthy choices and resist foods that are high in calories, carbs, and fat. This happens because sleep deprivation dulls and slows down the activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is actually in charge of self-control and decision-making. To summarize, without proper sleep, your self-control and decision-making abilities will be decreased, while your brain’s reaction to food will increase.
Poor Sleep Decreases Your Resting Metabolism
A person’s resting metabolism is affected by your age, weight, height, sex and muscle mass. However, it can also be affected by sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation may lower your resting metabolism, meaning the number of calories you burn while resting will be significantly decreased.
Sleep Enhances Physical Activity
Proper sleep makes you feel refreshed and energized which may give you the motivation to exercise. On the flip side, lack of sleep causes daytime fatigue which will severely decrease your motivation to work out. Also, chances are you will get tired more quickly.
The Bottom Line
Along with a healthy diet and exercising routine, getting quality sleep is also an important part of proper weight maintenance. Lack of sleep alters the way your body responds to food, starting from increasing your appetite to make it hard to resist temptations and control portions. Establishing healthy sleep habits are important for helping your body maintain a healthy weight.