Sleep is vital to stay healthy, but it’s also one of the most important pieces of your weight loss puzzle!
Sleep is the main chance your body has to heal, to revive, to process, and to prepare for the activity and stress of the upcoming day. By stealing your chance for this healing rest, your body gets stuck in a stress cycle where you build your cortisol level and lose the chance to reach or maintain a healthy weight.
Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. Get less than that, and your body will react in ways that lead even the most determined dieter straight to Ben & Jerry’s.
Why? Because insufficient sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, including two called ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin.
Leptin, on the other hand, cues your brain to put the fork down. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food.
Put the two together, and it’s no wonder sleep deprivation leads to overeating and extra pounds.
Then there’s the cortisol spike that comes from too little sleep. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours.
Translation: You’re more apt to hang on to fat.
Researchers found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal. They felt hungrier and less satisfied after meals, and their energy was zapped.
Sleep deprivation makes you “metabolically groggy,” University of Chicago researchers say. Within just 4 days of insufficient ZZZs, your body’s ability to process insulin — a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy — goes awry. Insulin sensitivity, the researchers found, dropped by more than 30%.
Here’s why that’s bad: When your body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.
So it’s not so much that if you sleep, you’ll lose weight, but that too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.
– via WebMD
What EXACTLY Changes Without Sleep?
More than you might think! Did you know a lack of sleep will make you eat differently? Or that it can change your fat cells?
We can’t ever doubt the role sleep plays in our health and our life. So what specific effects does sleep have on your body and weight?
Sleep Controls Your Diet
The debate about the best way to achieve a healthy weight always revolves around eating and movement. If you want to look better, the most common suggestion is “eat less and move more.” But it’s not that simple, or even accurate. Sometimes you want to eat less and move more, but it seems impossible to do so. And there might be a good reason: Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough. Or maybe, more importantly, you don’t realize that sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is nearly identical, it’s easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence.
Not sleeping enough—less than seven hours of sleep per night—can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the study, dieters were put on different sleep schedules. When their bodies received adequate rest, half of the weight they lost was from fat. However when they cut back on sleep, the amount of fat lost was cut in half—even though they were on the same diet. What’s more, they felt significantly hungrier, were less satisfied after meals, and lacked energy to exercise. Overall, those on a sleep-deprived diet experienced a 55 percent reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts.
Poor Sleep Changes Your Fat Cells
Think about the last time you had a bad night of sleep. How did you feel when you woke up? Exhausted. Dazed. Confused. Maybe even a little grumpy? It’s not just your brain and body that feel that way—your fat cells do too. When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess.” The term was coined by University of Chicago researchers who analyzed what happened after just four days of poor sleep—something that commonly happens during a busy week. One late night at work leads to two late nights at home, and next thing you know, you’re in sleep debt.
But it’s just four nights, so how bad could it be? You might be able to cope just fine. After all, coffee does wonders. But the hormones that control your fat cells don’t feel the same way.
Within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone) becomes completely disrupted. In fact, the University of Chicago researchers found that insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30 percent.
Here’s why that’s bad: When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. And this is exactly how you become fat and suffer from diseases like diabetes.
– via Shape Magazine
Do you get enough sleep? How do you think your life would change if you got more rest each night?