For most people, losing weight comes down to how many calories they eat and burn throughout the day. This is one aspect of their life that they try to improve but often at the cost of overlooking other factors that contribute to their weight gain. One such factor may be the amount of sleep you may be getting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 35% of US adults sleep fewer than 7 hours most nights. If you’re trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get may just be as crucial as your diet and exercise. Although the medical community is still researching and looking into the exact connection between sleep and weight loss, many studies show this relationship.
Let us look into the science behind it and find out exactly how does lack of sleep causes weight gain.
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How Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss?
Over the past several decades, a troublesome trend has arisen. People are having less sleep than for ever before. This may be due to several factors such as working hours, free time and lifestyle choices. Less sleep has prompted scientists to look into the effects of sleep deprivation. Besides the apparent adverse effect on our mental health, numerous studies have suggested that restricted sleep may lead to weight gain, metabolic disorders and risk of obesity increased.
Our appetite is controlled by neurotransmitters which our body releases, depending on its need for calories. Certain neurotransmitters are responsible for the feelings of hunger (ghrelin), while others make us feel full (leptin). Our brain function is highly dependent on the amount of sleep we get. So it is not surprising when research suggests that sleep also dictates the regulation of appetite-controlling neurotransmitters.
In one study found that, men who slept 4 hours had increased ghrelin and decreased leptin compared to those who slept 10 hours. This dysregulation of the two hormones ghrelin and leptin may lead to overeating for people who are sleep deprived.
Our metabolism dictates how fast our bodies can convert the food we eat into the energy needed to go about our day. Everything from breathing to working out consumes calories and contributes to our metabolism. Generally, a high metabolism is considered good, as it can help make it easier to lose weight.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to metabolic dysregulation, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or even self-induced sleep deprivation. Poor sleep leads to increased alterations in glucose utilization and storage, insulin sensitivity, and/or lipid metabolism. All this can heavily contribute to weight gain.
Lack of sleep will ultimately leave you with less energy throughout the day. No matter how much coffee, energy drinks or pre-workouts, your mind needs quality sleep to stay fresh. To help your body relax and get better sleep, try out free guided breathing exercises and breathing techniques for sleep. A lack of energy can make it increasingly difficult to exercise. If you frequently get less than 7 hours of sleep, you will skip more workouts, ultimately leading to weight gain.
Sleeping For Weight Loss
Now that we have talked about how does lack of sleep causes weight gain and what sleep does for the body, let us talk about how sleep can help you lose weight. Below are some ways you can lose weight by simply getting enough sleep.
1. Moderate Your Appetite
People who do not get enough sleep tend to consume more calories throughout the day. Not only are they consuming more calories, but most of these are from fats and generally a lower quality diet. Multiple studies outline this relationship. Although the exact reason for such a tremendous effect on our appetite is not entirely known, it may be due to the regulation of neurotransmitters responsible for hunger.
2. Make Better Food choices
Getting long and undisturbed helps you make more intelligent choices. This includes the decisions you make about your body. A lack of sleep alters your decision-making and makes it harder to resist unhealthy foods. Furthermore, a study found that sleep-deprived subjects had a more significant reward-related brain response to high-calorie foods.
3. Late-Night Snacking
Sleeping later and later in the night means pushing the window, during which you can get hungry. Let’s say you had dinner around 8 pm and decided to stay up all the way till 4 am. There is a high chance of getting hungry during those 8 hours. Late-night snacking almost always consists of unhealthy, high calorie foods. Lastly, having a meal before you sleep is generally bad for your body and will worsen sleep deprivation.
4. Benefits For Your Metabolism
Research does suggest that better sleep leads to an increased resting metabolic rate (RMR). Your resting metabolic rate is how many calories your body burns with limited physical activity. Having a high RMR means you are burning calories by doing nothing. Is that not the dream? According to one research, RMR decreased after sleep restriction and returned to baseline levels after recovery sleep. So if that doesn’t answer your question, can sleep help you lose weight? Then we don’t know what will.
5. Physical Activity
Getting proper sleep goes hand in hand with all physical activities. Not only does it save you from daytime fatigue, but most of our muscle repairs and builds themselves during sleep. Lastly, numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can decrease the time it takes you to fall asleep and increase the overall quality of sleep across all age groups.
Obesity can lead to many chronic illnesses, so authentic medications are prescribed to morbidly obese people with chronic illnesses to help them lose weight. It is recommended that the medications shall not be consumed without a doctor’s prescription. If there are no symptoms of any other chronic illness besides obesity, one should refrain from taking them.
Patients who have a tendency or are suffering from diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus or hyperlipidemia are prescribed Orlistat (Generic Xenical) and Xenical 120mg. With this medicine’s help, you can prevent the absorption of dietary fats in your body. Generally, only the people who are morbidly obese are prescribed these medicines.
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