It is hard to do it all: go to work, see friends and family, cook, clean, go to the gym, and still have time for yourself. The first thing to go in order to make room is sleep. We think that losing an hour or two of sleep is not a big deal. Maybe we think being tired, or having a lowered mental performance is just the price we pay. We start believing that having one cup, two cups, five cups of coffee a day is a proper substitute for a good night’s rest. The truth is that sleep is essential. Losing sleep is not a badge of honor. Rather, we need sleep to help us stay healthy and alert. Sleep helps regulate our diet, meaning that sleep helps weight loss.
Sleeping the Fat Away
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 35 percent of American adults are sleep deprived. This deprivation affects dieting and fat storage. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sleeping less than seven hours a night can reduce or even downright undo any benefits from dieting. Furthermore, when dieters were subjected to various sleep schedules, those who received adequate rest found that half their resulting weight loss was from fat. Researchers concluded that their sleep-deprived subjects were adversely affected with a 55 percent reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested peers. In short, sleep helps weight loss.
Sleep and Fat Cells
A bad night’s sleep can leave you mentally groggy, but it can also cause “metabolic grogginess.” That is to say that sleep loss disrupts your body’s insulin system. Insulin, the hormone that regulates fat storage, was completely blocked in people who experienced just four days of sleep deprivation, a study at the University of Chicago found. The study showed that sleep loss led to a drop in insulin sensitivity of 30 percent or more. This led to fat cells, which usually remove fatty acids from your bloodstream and prevent storage to stop working properly, and for insulin levels to spike. If sleep helps weight loss, then sleep deprivation may contribute to diabetes and obesity.
Sleep and Cravings
Another result of sleep deprivation is a change in your leptin and cortisol production levels. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating; that your stomach is full. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that sleeping less than six hours depressed leptin levels. Furthermore, sleep loss leads to a heightened production of the hormone cortisol. This hormone, or the “stress hormone” as it is sometimes called, activates the reward center of your brain. That is to say that food and eating become that much more pleasurable. Coupled with suppressed leptin levels, it is easy to see how getting adequate sleep helps weight loss.
Sleep and Exercise
Finally, a lack of sleep can negatively affect your workout. In order to keep your exercise routine stable and help manage your diet goals, getting a good night’s rest is one of the most important tools.
Sleep is clearly an invaluable component of our total well-being, but even more so, sleep is key to any diet regimen, as sleep helps weight loss in more ways than we may be aware of. Learn more about nutrition, sleep, and proper workout guidance with the help of the expert at Krav Maga.