If you’re trying to lose weight, you know that eating a healthy, well-balanced diet full of nutritious food and getting plenty of exercise is important. But did you know that there’s something that may be just as important – if not more so – for weight loss than diet and exercise?
What is it? – Sleep!
If you’re finding that your pants are still fitting too tight even if you are sticking to a strict diet and are logging plenty of hours at the gym, it just might be because you aren’t getting enough sleep. Study shows that if you’re trying to shed some pounds or transform your physique, hitting the hay is just as important as working up a sweat at the gym and counting your calories.
Here’s a look at 4 ways that sleep can help you lose weight.
It Gives You More Energy
It’s no secret that not getting enough sleep zaps your energy levels, leaving you completely unmotivated. And let’s be honest: when you have no energy, hitting the gym or even taking a bike ride or a brisk walk is probably the last thing you want to do.
When you get more sleep, you’ll notice a marked difference in your energy levels. When you’re more energetic, you’re more motivated; and when you’re more motivated, you’re more likely to get in that workout. Of course, exercise is vital for weight loss, so in this regard, logging more sleep time can help you log more workout time.
It Curbs Your Appetite
Several scientific studies have revealed that when people are sleep-deprived, they feel hungrier. That’s probably because of the impact sleep has on leptin and ghrelin, to hormones that play a big part in hunger.
Released from fat cells, leptin helps to suppress hunger. It also tells the brain that the belly is full. Ghrelin is released into the stomach when you’re belly is empty and lets the brain know that you are hunger. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body naturally produces higher amounts of ghrelin and less leptin. As a result, you feel hungrier, and as such, your appetite increases.
To resolve your hunger, you eat more, which of course, leads to weight gain.
It Helps You Resist Cravings
When you aren’t getting an adequate amount of sleep, the function of your brain is altered. Sleep deprivation reduces activity in the frontal lobe of your brain, the part of the brain that is responsible for making decisions, as well as self-control. Moreover, research suggests that when you are sleep deprived, the reward centers of the brain can be stimulated by food.
All of this means that if you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s more likely that you’ll crave foods that aren’t exactly healthy – and you’ll give into those cravings, too. Plus, there’s a greater chance that you’ll overindulge in those unhealthy foods.
When you get more sleep, you cravings for unhealthy food will diminish and you’ll have an easier time practicing self control.
It Increases Your Resting Metabolism
Resting metabolism refers to the amount of calories you burn when you are totally at rest. It’s affected by a number of factors, including age, height, muscle mass – and the amount of sleep you get. That’s because it seems that inadequate sleep leads to muscle loss, and since muscles burn calories when you’re at rest, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, then your resting metabolism slows.f
If you’re trying to lose weight, getting more sleep is a must. If light is the cause of your sleep deprivation, sleep better with a mask – and reach your weight loss goals, too!