When it comes to losing weight, all of us know that exercise and the right diet can do wonders for our body. With the number of diets and personal trainers available to us, it has become much easier to tackle our weight loss challenges and reach our goals. However, a lot of us are still struggling to lose weight despite every effort we put in, and can’t figure out what could be the missing factor. Sleep along with exercise and diet is one of the most important components of weight loss. According to an article by the Centers for Disease Control, about 30% of adults in the US are not sleeping sufficiently, which is less than 6 hours of sleep at night. If you have been struggling to lose weight, getting the right amount of healthy sleep may be the key to your goals. Below is a list of ways sleep helps you to lose weight.
1. Increased Appetite
Sleep has an effect on our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, and thus can increase our appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals our hunger to the brain; the levels are high right before we eat and lower once we are full. Leptin is a hormone that is released from fat cells and signals fullness to the brain and suppresses hunger. Not being able to sleep adequately increases the ghrelin production and lowers the leptin production, which makes you more hungry often and increases your appetite. Moreover, when you don’t get enough sleep, the body also releases cortisol, the stress hormone, that also increases your appetite.
2. Increase Calorie Intake
People who sleep less tend to consume more calories, especially because there in an increase in after-dinner snacking and an increase in portion sizes. One study in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that when participants were only allowed 4 hours of sleep, they ate an average of 559 more calories the next day. However, this could also be die to the fact that people are awake and inactive for longer, and this leads them to eat more, and most of the time, it is uncontrolled.
3. Decrease Your Resting Metabolism
The resting metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns when you are at rest, and is affected by your sex, age, height, weight and muscle mass. Less sleep has shown to affect this metabolic rate according to a study done in 2011 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Participants were kept awake for 24 hours, after which their resting metabolic rate decreased by 5 percent and their metabolic rate after eating was 20 percent lower than normal.
4. Major Risk Factor For Weight Gain
Research has consistently found that less sleep contributes to more weight gain and obesity. While each person’s sleep requirement varies, it has been seen that people start gaining weight when they get less than 7 hours of sleep per night. A meta-analysis published in the Sleep journal found that shorter sleep duration increases the risk of being obese by 89 percent in children and 55 percent in adults. Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology followed non-obese nurses for 16 years and found at the end of the study that those who slept for only 5 hours per night were 15 percent more likely to be obese than those who slept for 7 hours or more per night.
5. Sleep Helps You Make Healthier Choices
As we get less sleep, the way out brain actually works changes. The frontal lobe, which is in charge of decision making and self control, is affected and the activity is dulled down which has an effect on the choices we make. Moreover, the reward center of the brain is more stimulated by food when you are sleep deprived. This can result in an unhealthy combination of not exercising self control while also being rewarded for it.
6. Sleep Helps To Prevent Insulin Resistance
Insulin is an important hormones and moves sugar from the blood stream into your body so that it can be used as energy. Poor sleep can cause our cells to become resistant to insulin, which means that the sugar remains in our blood and causes the body to keep producing more insulin. The increase in the insulin makes you hungrier and makes the body store more calories as fat. Moreover, the resistance to insulin also increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.