Is There A Relationship Between Sleep And Weight Loss?
Have you been trying to lose weight, but nothing seems to be working? Most diet plans emphasize some form of eating plan or another, whether it’s Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or something else.
These plans also talk about some form of exercise, and how exercise can burn calories and help you lose weight. Most recommend some form of balance between eating and getting exercise.
I don’t think that most, however, say much or anything at all about whether or how sleep may affect weight loss. In leaving out this large part of our lives, I think that any diet and exercise plan is incomplete.
Sleep’s Impact On Weight Loss
What’s your fitness level? Are you comfortable wearing your swimsuit in front of a camera like the man in the photo is doing, or would you feel a little self-conscious?
I would feel self-conscious.
I have been working on losing weight for a couple of years now, at least, and am great at maintaining the weight I have now, but I’m having a “bear” of a time losing anything. It bums me out.
Maybe I need more sleep.
There were a bunch of researchers, from the universities of Wisconsin and Chicago, who recently performed a study to determine whether sleep restriction had any impact on people who were on a reduced calorie diet, or in other words, on people who were trying to lose weight.
Their results, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, were eye-opening, to say the least.
Their study found that subjects who only slept about 5 1/2 hours each night lost less fat and more muscle (55% less fat and 60% more muscle) than those who got a good 8 1/2 hours of sleep.
That’s a pretty HUGE difference, and could have a significant impact on your overall health, as well as your ability to keep the weight off in the future.
Losing muscle mass will show as weight loss, but you won’t look fit, you’ll just look thinner. Losing muscle mass also reduces your metabolic rate, which is why you will have a greater chance of gaining weight back once you stop your diet.
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What Else Does Not Getting Enough Sleep Affect?
Several things, and most of them negatively. Not getting sufficient sleep can cause:
- A decrease in insulin sensitivity (this one has grabbed a hold of me)
- Decreased carbohydrate tolerance (related to the one above)
- An increase in the evening of levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- A decrease in leptin, a fat burning hormone
- Increased hunger and appetite (possibly due to an increase of the hunger hormone ghrelin
- Slower muscle recovery and protein synthesis
No wonder the experts tell us that we should be getting our 8 hours of sleep every night!
You might also like: 4 Tips To Boost Your Immune System
Have You Heard Of Sleep Hygiene?
It’s a concept I came across in my research for this post. Sleep Hygiene is the “ritual” we perform in the evening before we go to bed that determines the quality of our sleep. Some guidelines might include:
- Stay away from that caffeine! Stop drinking it in the afternoon, not the evening
- Slow down or stop alcohol consumption in the evening also
- (I can’t do this one) Turn off electronics about an hour before bedtime, including the TV
- Write down things you want to remember, then do a “brain dump”
- Sleep in a dark room. Isn’t that a no-brainer?
- Perform techniques that reduce stress and calm you down.
So, If You’re Doing Everything Else Right, Try Getting More Sleep
Maybe you’ll see the pounds melt off faster!
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Disclosure: This posts contains affiliate links, and the FTC requires that readers be informed that if they purchase a product through an affiliate link, the affiliate will be paid a commission.
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