Why Sleep is so Important for Losing Weight & How to Get More of It – Part 1

Posted: February 26, 2018 in Blog, Health, Nutrition, Series, Weight Loss
Sleep is important for losing weight

You know you need a good night’s sleep. In fact, you’ve probably developed a routine to help you relax before bed and prepare yourself to sleep well. You might do your stretches and yoga poses to get yourself tired, pour yourself a glass of wine, and slip into a nice, warm, relaxing bath. Wow, we’re getting sleepy just thinking about it.

Except everything you just did can make it more difficult to fall asleep. But that’s no biggie, right? You’ll just catch up tomorrow night.

But you’ll never catch up on the effect your sleepless nights have on your body and your weight loss efforts. While we all know how important it is to get a good sleep, few of us know exactly why. And it’s not until you realize in just how many ways that sleep deprivation can affect weight loss that you’ll begin to give your sleep the attention it deserves, and give your weight loss a better chance of success.

A couple years ago, we told you how sleep actually helps you lose fat. That post outlined the results of a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, conducted at the University of Chicago. Among its findings, one of the main conclusions of the study, as voiced by one of the study’s directors, is that “the amount of sleep makes a big difference on the results of dietary interventions.” In other words, adequate sleep helps enhance the healthy changes in your diet towards weight loss, and not getting enough sleep could counteract the healthy changes.

If nothing else, what we can all take form the University of Chicago study is that sleep deprivation can affect weight loss in many ways, even in addition to the production of fat that we discussed previously.

1. Sleep Controls How Your Diet Works for You

Even if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, sleep can mitigate the effects of that diet. If there is one common complaint, whether you start a healthier diet, or a fad weight-loss diet, it is that you feel hungry all the time. But, especially if you’re n a balanced diet, that’s not always because you’re not eating enough food.

Sleep researchers, including in the University of Chicago study, have repeatedly made the connection between lack of sleep and increased feelings of hunger and decreased feelings of satisfaction (after eating the same meals that were previously satisfying).

2. Lack of Sleep Changes How Your Fat Cells Work

After spending the night tossing and turning, unable to stop thinking about all sorts of things, how do you feel? You’re probably wake up in a brain fog and feeling sluggish.

Well, it’s not just your brain and muscles that can’t get going after a sleepless night. Every other cell in your body, including your fat cells, act a ‘sleepy’ too. Like a brain fog, lack of sleep can cause a ‘metabolic fogginess’.

Researchers found that four days of not enough sleep, which might sound like a lot, but it can easily happen in an average week as one sleepless night disrupts your rhythm and leads to others, also disrupts your body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Unfortunately, that changes how your fat cells remove fatty acids from your blood and how those acids are stored. The decreased sensitivity to insulin triggers more insulin production in your body. The excess insulin means your body’s fat storage system goes a little ‘hyper’ and fat starts getting stored where shouldn’t be stored, like around your liver. It all adds to excess weight and your chances of diabetes.

In Part 2 of Why Sleep is so Important for Losing Weight & How to Get More of It, we’ll tell you how losing sleep can increase your cravings and decrease your activity levels, and show you a direct connection between lack of sleep and weight gain.

In the mean time, if you would like to learn how to better manage your weight, by eating foods you find in your grocery store and without the usual hunger pangs, call or visit your nearest Herbal One Centre.