7 Ways to Sleep that Can Help You to Lose Weight!

If you are trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you receive may be as important as diet and exercise. Unfortunately, many people do not get enough sleep. In fact, about 30% of adults sleep less than six hours most nights, according to a study of American adults. Interestingly, the growing evidence shows that sleep may be the missing factor for many people who are struggling to lose weight. Here are seven reasons why getting enough sleep can help you lose weight.

1. Poor Sleep is an Important Risk Factor for Weight Gain and Obesity:

Poor sleep has been repeatedly related to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain. Sleep requirements in people vary, but, in general terms, research has observed changes in weight when people receive less than seven hours of sleep per night. An important review found that short sleep duration increased the probability of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults. Another study followed about 60,000 non-obese nurses for 16 years. At the end of the study, nurses who slept five hours or less per night were 15% more likely to be obese than those who slept at least seven hours per night. While these studies were all observational, weight gain has also been seen in experimental sleep deprivation studies. One study allowed 16 adults to sleep only five hours at night for five nights. They gained an average of 1.8 pounds (0.82 kilograms) during this short study period. In addition, many sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are made worse by weight gain. It is a vicious circle that can be difficult to escape. Sleeping badly can cause weight gain, which can cause the quality of sleep to decrease further.

Summary: Studies have found that bad sleep is associated with weight gain and a greater chance of obesity in both adults and children.

2. Sleeping Badly Can Increase Your Appetite:

Many studies have found that people who are not sleepy have a greater appetite. This is probably caused by the impact of sleep on two important hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain. The levels are high before eating, which is when the stomach is empty and low after eating.

“Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells. Suppresses hunger and signals satiety in the brain”.

When you don’t get enough sleep, the body produces more ghrelin and less leptin, thus having more hunger and more appetite. A study of more than 1,000 people found that those who slept for short periods had 14.9% higher levels of ghrelin and 15.5% lower levels of leptin than those who received adequate sleep. Short sleepers also had higher BMI. In addition, the hormone cortisol is higher when you do not sleep properly. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can also increase appetite.

Summary: Bad sleep can increase appetite, probably due to its effect on hormones that signal hunger and fullness.

3. Sleep Helps Fight Cravings and Make Healthy Choices:

Lack of sleep really alters the way the brain works. This can make it harder to make healthy choices and resist tempting foods. Sleep deprivation actually clouds the activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is in charge of decision making and self-control. Also, it seems that when you have not slept well, brain rewards are more stimulated by food. Therefore, after a night of bad sleep, not only is the desired ice cream dish, it is also likely that you will have more difficulty practicing self-control. In addition, research has found that lack of sleep can increase your affinity for foods that are high in calories, carbohydrates and fat. A study of 12 men looked at the effects of sleep deprivation on food intake. When participants were only allowed four hours of sleep, their calorie intake increased by 22%, and their fat intake almost doubled, compared to those allowed eight hours of sleep.

Summary: Poor sleep can decrease your ability to self-control and decision making and can increase the brain’s reaction to food. Bad sleep has also been linked to increased intake of foods high in calories, fats and carbohydrates.

4. Little Sleep Can Increase Your Calorie Intake:

People who sleep little tend to consume more calories. A study of 12 men found that when participants were allowed to sleep for only four hours, a group ate an average of 559 more calories the next day, compared to the group that was allowed to sleep eight hours. This increase in calories may be due to increased appetite and unhealthy food choices, as mentioned above. However, it can also be simply an increase in the time you are awake and available to eat. This is especially true when idle time is spent, such as watching television. In addition, some studies on sleep deprivation have found that a large part of the excess calories were consumed as snacks after dinner. Bad sleep can also increase your calorie intake by affecting the ability to control portion sizes. This was demonstrated in a study of 16 men. Participants were allowed to sleep for eight hours, or stay up all night. In the morning, they completed a computerized task where they had to select portion sizes of different foods. Those who stayed up all night selected larger portion sizes, and reported that they had increased hunger so they had higher levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin.

Summary: Bad sleep can increase your calorie intake by increasing the nighttime snack, portion sizes and time available to eat.

5. Poor Sleep Can Decrease Your Resting Metabolism:

The resting metabolic rate (TMR) is the number of calories your body burns when it is completely at rest. It is affected by age, weight, height, sex and muscle mass. Research indicates that little sleep can decrease TMR. In one study, 15 men stayed awake for 24 hours. Subsequently, his TMR was 5% lower than after a normal night’s rest, and his metabolic rate after eating was 20% lower. On the contrary, some studies have not found changes in metabolism with sleep loss. Therefore, more research is needed to determine if and how sleep loss slows metabolism. It also seems that little sleep can cause muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so when muscle is lost, resting metabolic rates decrease. One study put 10 overweight adults on a 14-day diet of moderate caloric restriction. Participants were allowed to sleep 8.5 or 5.5 hours. Both groups lost both fat and muscle weight, but those who received only 5.5 hours of sleep lose weight at minimum level and more muscle. A loss of 22 pounds (10 kg) of muscle mass could reduce the TMR by an estimated 100 calories per day.

Summary: Poor sleep may decrease your resting metabolic rate (RMR), although the findings are mixed. A contributing factor seems to be that sleeping badly can cause muscle loss.

6. Sleep can Improve Physical Activity:

Lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue, so you are less likely and less motivated to exercise. In addition, they are more likely to get tired before or during physical activity. A study in 15 men found that when participants were deprived of sleep, the amount and intensity of their physical activity decreased. The good news is that sleeping more can help improve your athletic performance. In one study, college basketball players were asked to spend 10 hours in bed every night for five to seven weeks. They grew faster, their reaction times improved, their accuracy increased and their fatigue levels decreased.

Summary: Lack of sleep can decrease motivation, quantity and intensity of exercise. Getting more sleep can even help improve performance.

7. Helps Prevent Insulin Resistance:

Poor sleep can cause cells to become resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that moves sugar from the bloodstream to the body’s cells to be used as energy. When the cells become resistant to insulin, more sugar remains in the bloodstream and the body produces more insulin to compensate. Excess insulin makes you feel more hungry and tells the body to store more calories as fat. Insulin resistance is a precursor for both type 2 diabetes and weight gain. In one study, 11 men were allowed only four hours of sleep for six nights. After this, the ability of their bodies to lower blood sugar levels decreased by 40%. This suggests that only a few nights of bad sleep can cause the cells to become resistant to insulin.

Summary: Only a few days of bad sleep can cause insulin resistance that is a precursor to both weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

 In Conclusion:

Eating well, exercising and sleeping well is an important part of weight maintenance. Poor sleep dramatically alters the way the body responds to food. For starters, your appetite increases and you are less likely to resist temptations and control portions. To make matters worse, it can become a vicious circle. The less you sleep the more weight you gain and when you gain more weight instead of lose weight, it is more difficult to sleep. On the other hand, establishing healthy sleep habits can help your body maintain a healthy weight.So, if you want to lose weight adequate sleep is necessary.


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