Why Sleep is so Important for Losing Weight & How to Get More of It – Part 2
A good night’s sleep does a lot more than help you look your best and feel great. In Part 1 of Why Sleep is so Important for Losing Weight & How to Get More of It we told you about how a good night’s sleep actually helps you reduce the levels of fat in your body. And we pointed out that, in addition to losing all the advantages of a good night’s sleep, a lack of sleep can increase your feelings of hunger, decrease your feeling of being full and actually change how your fat cells store fat in ways that can lead to weight gain and increase your chances of diabetes.
Here in Part 2 of this blog series, we tell you about three other ways that sleep deprivation can make it more difficult to lose weight.
1. Less Sleep Means More Cravings
Your hunger is mainly controlled by two hormones, leptin and ghrelin. In very simple terms, leptin makes you feel full and ghrelin makes you feel hungry. According to research findings published by PLOS, the Public Library of Science, lack of sleep produces a double-whammy effect on your hunger by decreasing leptin production and increasing ghrelin production – or simultaneously making you feel hungrier and less full, regardless of your eating patterns.
But, while the idea of disrupting your hunger and satiety is disturbing enough, there’s one more hormone that gets into the game to make a lack of sleep even tougher to control your eating.
The hormone cortisol plays many roles in your body. In addition to helping metabolism, reducing inflammation and lowering allergic reactions, cortisol is released in the body when you are stressed. One of it’s effects is to activate the brain’s reward centres, making you crave the sorts of foods you would use as a reward to yourself, including sweet, salty and fatty foods.
When you combine the increase in cravings for the worst sorts of foods with the increase in hunger and the decrease in feeling full, you can imagine what that would do to even the healthiest diet, especially if there is chronic loss of sleep.
And There’s Even More Bad News:
the term ‘brain fog’ comes from the inability to focus your thinking and/or make decisions. Everything seems hazy. Just one night of sleep loss can reduce the activity in the frontal lobe of your brain, which controls your decision making.
So, when you’re given the option to have the piece of cake that you are simultaneously craving and hungry for, you don’t have the mental clarity to make the right decision and say ‘no’, and you eat the cake and all of its calories.
2. Poor Sleep Reduces Your Activity Levels
And not just because you’re lethargic and just don’t feel like getting up. Your body’s muscle tissue actually helps you burn fat, but poor sleep makes it more difficult for your body to synthesize protein, which is the main building block of muscle.
One of the reasons sleep is so important for weight loss is that it helps your body recover from exercise, making it possible for you to do more. Lack of sleep makes it tougher to recover from activity by stifling the production of growth hormone, which repairs your stressed muscles.
If you really don’t even like the thought of exercise, make getting a good night’s sleep a priority to help reduce the challenge of getting off the couch.
3. Direct Connection to Weight Management Issues
If all the symptoms of poor sleep that we’ve discussed so far aren’t enough to get you to prioritize your sleep, research data shows that sleep-deprived women are more likely to gain weight. The American Journal of Epidemiology published study results that found a 33% higher likelihood of sleep-deprived women gaining 33 more pounds of weight over the next 16 years versus those who get seven hours of sleep a night.
In Part 3 of Why Sleep is so Important for Losing Weight & How to Get More of It, we’ll take a look at some of the things that you might be doing to help improve your sleep, but that can actually reduce how much sleep you get.
Good sleep is just one step along the path to a lower weight. The nutrition consultants at your local Herbal One Centre can help you with every step along the way. Call or visit them today.