Everyone knows that eating right and exercising are important to maintaining healthy body weight. If you’re like most people, you have probably enrolled in a gym or diet program to stay in shape. Nowadays, optimum health is one of the main priority not only by government but the citizens themselves. After all, it’s not like the old days where people results to superstition or faith healing. As we become more and more educated by media and the academe as to the ill-effects of poor health, we become more invested in keeping ourselves healthy and fit.
Most gym recommends certain workout routines to lose fat while dietitians or diet consultants recommend certain diet to reduce fat intake or eliminate fat build-up in your body.
Has anyone ever recommend proper sleep to reduce weight? Not until a few recent studies shows the correlation of adequate sleep to weight reduction. The opposite idea holds true as well - how lack of sleep or how sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain.
Why Is Sleep Important For Weight Loss
Several studies and years of research have all revealed a strong correlation between proper sleep and losing weight.
Adequate sleep - not just sleep - both in quantity and quality, help people lose weight. According to Matthew Walker, Ph.D, author of Why We Sleep, It’s important to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. In his study, he said that 7 hours of sleep correlates with being heavier, gaining weight, risk of disease, cancer and struggling to lose weight. Other research suggests than 6.5 hours is a sweet spot and anything more increases inflammation, depression and mortality rates (Walker, 2017). In his book, he mentioned that if you “Take away the bedrock of sleep, or weaken it just a little, and careful eating or physical exercise become less than effective.”
Sleep is necessary to support healthy eating and exercise habits. Low sleep volume is known to cause changes in hunger hormones such as leptin (“hunger inhibitor”, responsible for telling us we’re full), ghrelin (“hunger stimulant”, responsible for increasing our appetite), and endocannabinoids (associated with snack cravings) resulting to sleep-deprived people to feel hungry and consume more energy than those who are well rested. In other words, when people don’t get sufficient sleep, it becomes challenging to control behavior and inhibitions. People tend to seek instant gratification to food and activities that require minimal effort. With sleep deprivation, the body is essentially in a state of duress can lead to eating more calories to deal with the “threat” it perceives. Additionally, the more time a sleep-deprived person is awake, the more time there is to consume snacks.
Not sleeping enough is also known to lower a person's metabolic rate and messes with insulin production. Cortisol, the hormone which responsible for maintaining your body’s circadian rhythm, becomes elevated with poor sleep pattern and with high stress. At normal times, cortisol provides energy for the day and is reduced at night to encourage sleep and rest. If it remains elevated because of disrupted or poor sleeping pattern, this hormone will significantly inhibit weight loss.
To regulate appetite and food choices, one must have sufficient sleep and consistent sleep-wake pattern to keep these hormones in balance and do their job properly. And, as much as possible, try to avoid stressors that will disrupt your sleeping pattern because it’s a vicious cycle of stress affecting your sleep and your sleep affecting your stress.
How Much Is Enough?
To find your sleep sweet spot, try to experiment with 8 hours of sleep every night and adjust accordingly until you find how much sleep you really need. The idea is to make sure you wake up refreshed and feel alert throughout the day.
One will likely have the energy to exercise and the motivation to make choices if his or her sleeping quantity and quality is sufficient.
Sleep and weight loss relationship is a clear demonstration that “it takes two to Tango”. Sleep is no doubt a huge contributor to the success of your weight loss journey, regardless if you do it via sophisticated workout program or diet plan. So, make sure you get enough sleep to keep your momentum going and sustain your motivation to keep your body healthy and in shape.
Keywords: Sleep and weight loss relationship