How Sleep Helps you Lose (or Gain) Weight

Sleep & Health

We all know sleep is crucial for our health & happiness, yet many of us don’t get enough sleep, let alone the right quality of sleep.

In fact, our “success” driven culture has thrown sleep to the curb with quotes like “ sleep is for the week” or “sleepless insert city name” and glorifying the idea of losing sleep. 

Science now has proven that quality sleep is crucial for our health, happiness, and survival.

A study in 2014 showed that the week after daylight savings, where we lose an hour of sleep, the rate of heart attacks increases by 24%!

This is scary.

 

Sleep & Appetite 

The effects that poor sleep has on our appetite, weight, and metabolism are equally damaging.

Sleep impacts literally every process in our body, especially our metabolism. 

A study showed that Getting 4 hours of sleep affects two hormones that regulate satiety (fullness) and hunger.

Reduced sleep increases the production of the hormone Grehlin, which tells our body when we are hungry, and decreases production of the hormone Leptin, which tells our body when we are full.

This means feeling more hungry and needing to eat more calories to feel full.

For many people, this means craving more calorie-dense junk food to satisfy the seemingly uncontrollable cravings.

To add icing on the cake (pun intended), we are more likely to crave caffeine to feel awake, which can further disrupt our sleep.

This can turn into a vicious cycle of fatigue, coffee, junk food, and insomnia. 

Sleep & Weight Loss

Some people will STILL say " no problem, I just need to eat less calories and still lose weight, right?"

Wrong.

This study showed that when we restrict our calorie intake (eat less food) while we are low on sleep (5.5 vs 8.5 hours) we will lose 55% LESS fat and more muscle weight. 

So fasting, working out more, and restricting calories simply don't work as well when we are low on sleep. 

Our efforts will mostly go to waste, leaving us feeling tired (physically & mentally) and ready to quit. 

The only way to break this cycle is to fix our sleep. 

With this in mind, getting enough quantity & quality of sleep should be our number one priority, with diet and exercise coming in second. 

How to Fix your Sleep

But, how do you start fixing your sleep, when you may have been losing hours of sleep every night, for years? 

Here are some tips we KNOW will help you get your beauty sleep back & regain control of your eating, weight, and health:


  • Avoid blue light at night: Blue light close to bedtime can delay the release of melatonin, our sleepy time hormone. Avoiding phone and computer screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime can fix this. Dimmer lighting at night can help as well.
  • Avoid caffeine or drink it early: Some of us cannot function without it, but it can disrupt our ability to sleep up to 10-12 hours after consuming it!
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    If you want to drink it, aim to consume it as early as possible. 
     

  • Sleep by 10pm: While this is challenging for many of us, especially those with children, the best quality sleep hours are from 10pm-2am, according to the
  • sleep expert Dr. Mathew Walker.  

     

  • Choose a relaxing activity before bed: Avoid stressful work or conversations close to bedtime.
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    Instead, choose journaling, yoga, herbal tea, a bath, or conscious breathing.

    You can do them all! Relaxing your brain, heart, and body can make it easier to fall asleep and STAY asleep. 

    If you’re convinced your sleep needs some changes, but feel overwhelmed, that's normal! 

    Start with a simple change using the tips above, and slowly make it a routine.

    As you sleep more (7-9 hours) and enjoy better quality sleep, you will notice improvements in your mood, focus, ability to handle stress, metabolism, and of course fitness goals! 


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