Is Sleep Affecting your Weight Loss?
Would you like to lose weight, have more energy, improve your memory, reduce your appetite, and improve your athletic performance? One simple change can help you to do all these things; getting more sleep.
Society has tricked us into thinking that being busy and being able to function on 5-hours sleep is indicative of being a productive and successful person. Well we don’t buy into that! If you’re not able to set time aside for at least 7 hours of sleep then you need to work on your time management and re-evaluate your priorities.
We believe that nutrition is the foundation to your health and fitness but focusing on sleep, exercise and stress, are next in line when it comes to improving your quality of life. Often there isn’t one thing alone that causes weight gain; stress, sleep, metabolic health, lifestyle and social environment all work together to contribute to a consistent energy (calorie) surplus.
If your nutrition is on point but you’re going through a period where you can’t lose weight, your body composition won’t change, or you’re gaining weight, then you need to address these factors before jumping the gun and changing your macros.
According to the National Sleep Foundation most adults need between 7-9 hours sleep a night. Here’s a quick look at some of the reasons why sleep plays such an important role in our health:
1. Live Longer
2. Control Stress
3. Improve Memory
4. Recover Better
5. Improve Performance
6. Manage your weight
7. Improve Creativity & Productivity
8. Improve your Mood
For more detail about the physiological effects and benefits of sleep, read our full article on 8 Reasons Why We Need Our Beauty Sleep here.
Sleep and Weight Loss
When it comes to maintaining or losing weight specifically, here’s how a bad night’s rests affects your body:
1. Increases your appetite
Many studies show that people who are sleep deprived, report having an increased appetite. This is thought to be caused by the impact of sleep on two important hormones that control our hunger, leptin and ghrelin.
Ghrelin is a hormone in the stomach that signals hunger to the brain. Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells that suppresses hunger and signals fullness to the brain.
When you don’t get enough sleep the body produces more ghrelin & less leptin, leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite.
Cortisol has also been shown to be higher when you don’t get enough sleep. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may also increase appetite.
2. Inhibits making good decisions
A lack of sleep effects the way your brain works, making it much harder to make healthy choices and resist tempting foods.
Sleep deprivation impacts the frontal lobe of the brain which is in charge of decision-making and self-control. The reward centers of the brain are also more stimulated by food when you’re sleep deprived.
A study of 12 men observed the effects of sleep deprivation on food intake. When the participants were allowed only four hours of sleep, their calorie intake increased by 22% & their fat intake almost doubled compared with those who were permitted 8 hours sleep.
3. Decrease your RMR
Although findings are mixed, some studies have shown that sleep deprivation may lower your resting metabolic rate. In one study, a group of participants were kept awake for 24 hours. Afterwards their RMR was 5% lower than after a normal night’s rest and their metabolic rate after eating was 20% lower.
A separate study showed that the sleep deprivation impacts our metabolism because of the wasting effect it has on muscle– muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does.
4. Diminishes your overall output in activity
This one’s not all too surprising, but the less sleep you get then the more fatigued you’ll feel which can result in several things:
- Less motivated to exercise;
- More likely to get tired earlier on during physical activity;
- Decrease the amount and intensity of physical activity.
By contrast, getting more sleep can greatly improve your performance.
5. Causes insulin resistance
Insulin is a hormone that moves sugar out of your bloodstream and into your body’s cells for use as energy. When cells become insulin resistant, more sugar stays in the bloodstream and the body produces more insulin to compensate (hyperinsulinemia). The excess insulin makes you hungrier and signals the body to store glucose as fat.
Poor sleep can cause cells to become insulin resistant.
The Bottom Line
Poor sleep can dramatically alter the way your body responds to food. Your appetite increases, you’re less likely to resist temptations and control portions and your sense of fatigue will likely diminish your level of activity. The cumulative effect is a caloric surplus and either weight gain or the inability to lose weight.
Now that you know why getting enough shut eye is so important, have a think about how much sleep you’re getting. Although everyone’s a little different, the general recommendation is a minimum of 7 hours sleep a night. What strategies can you use to get more sleep? Check out these cool apps for helping you improve the quality of your sleep!