Get Enough Sleep and Lose More Weight

Filed under: Mind/Body/Food Connection

Sleeping lady - iStock_000016839669MediumWhen you’re trying to lose weight, it may seem as though it’s hard enough to find time to prepare healthy meals and go to the gym. Often we’re tempted to cut back on sleep in order to make up for the extra strain on our schedules. The problem is, doing that can make weight loss even more difficult! If you want to lose weight and keep it off, sleep is just as important as exercise and eating healthy.

Inadequate sleep disrupts your body’s hormones.

Adequate sleep time plays a role in balancing your body’s hormones. In particular, the hormones ghrelin and leptin are linked with sleep and appetite. Ghrelin signals hunger and cravings, whereas leptin tells you that you’re full and satisfied. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, the levels of these hormones are disturbed. You have more ghrelin and less leptin, which translates into more hunger and less satiety. You feel hungry all the time, and it’s difficult to fight cravings when you’re cranky and exhausted! That drive-through window starts to look better and better.

Sleep and metabolism are linked.

Your body also responds to exhaustion by decreasing its sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is a hormone which determines whether your body turns food into fuel or stores it as fat. When your body becomes less sensitive to insulin, you’re unable to properly metabolize the food you consume, and it is stored as fat instead. Depriving your body of sleep is basically the same as intentionally gaining weight!

Sleep affects your lifestyle, too.

When you’re sleep deprived, do you feel like hitting the gym? Going for a run? Cooking healthy meals?Most people don’t. It’s probably all you can do to get through your work day and pick up the phone to order a pizza at night. You certainly won’t feel like pursuing your health and weight loss goals.

How much sleep is enough sleep?

Most people need about seven and a half hours of quality sleep each night, in order to function correctly during the day. If you’re doing that and still feel exhausted all the time, you may need to further alter your sleeping habits. Go to bed at the same time each night, get up at the same time each morning, and provide yourself with a comfortable mattress, room darkening curtains, and earplugs if you’re sensitive to noise. Remember, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity of sleep.

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