The amount of sleep you get may be just as important for weight loss as your diet and exercise. I often consider sleep as a ‘silent sabotager’ of weight loss. And it should come as no surprise that we don’t get enough sleep.
Let’s look at why sleep and weight loss are connected. Here are 6 reasons why getting enough sleep may help you lose weight.
Short sleep, defined as fewer than 6–7 hours, has been repeatedly linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain. For every additional hour of sleep, BMI scores decreased.
Poor sleep may also negatively affect the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in increased cortisol levels. It may also suppress various hormones, such as levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is linked to greater fat storage. Lack of sleep results in the body making more ghrelin (hunger hormone) and less leptin (fullness hormone), leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite.
Poor sleep can decrease your self-control and decision-making abilities, as well as increase your brain’s reaction to food. This is where cravings originate; as we often increase intake of foods high in calories, fats, and sugar to compensate for the lack of energy.
Eating too close to bedtime, especially large meals, may decrease the quality of your sleep and make your sleep deprivation even worse. In particular, those with acid reflux, indigestion, or sleep disorders may want to limit food intake before bed. Ideally, try to stop food intake 2-3 hours before bed. Opt for a small, protein-rich snack if you find yourself hungry.
Poor-quality sleep may decrease muscle synthesis, which may lower resting metabolism. Lack of sleep may also suppress fat oxidation, which is the breakdown of fat cells into energy.
Getting enough sleep may increase your motivation to be more active and enhance your athletic performance, both of which can contribute to weight loss. Interestingly, being physically active can also improve your sleep. You may expend fewer calories in a day when sleep-deprived than you would after a proper night’s rest. This can make achieving a calorie deficit for weight loss more difficult.
If your weight loss efforts are not producing results, it may be time to examine your sleep habits. Though individual needs vary, most adults need around 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep can be a struggle, check out a natural peptide solution for better and longer sleep: D-SIP.