Why sleep is important for your weight loss

There are probably not too many of us that can confidently say we’re getting enough beauty sleep, right ladies?

But did you know that sleep plays an essential role in keeping your body healthy, while helping to keep the pounds off? The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours a night – although many of us sleep far less than this.

But maybe you want to consider getting in a few more ZZZs because research has revealed that sleeping less than the recommended amount can lead to:

  • having more body fat
  • increased risk of obesity
  • impacts how much weight you lose, even on a calorie-controlled diet

In fact, not getting the right amount of sleep can determine:

  • How much fat you lose
  • How much muscle mass you hold onto whilst on a calorie-restricted diet.

Another study revealed that sleeping only 5.5 hours each night over two weeks resulted in less fat loss when compared with sleeping 8.5 hours each night. The results even showed that catching up on sleep on the weekend isn’t enough to reverse the impact of sleep deprivation whilst on a calorie-controlled diet.

Also Read: How to regain your workout motivation

Did you know that the amount of time that we’ve spent sleeping has steadily decreased over the past few decades, as has the quality of that sleep? For much of the same time, the average BMI of Americans has increased.

How your appetite and sleep go together

But why is shorter sleep associated with higher body weight and impact weight loss? Well, there are several reasons! These impact our metabolism, appetite, and our food selection. Our sleep influences two critical hormones for appetite in our body: leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin is a hormone that decreases our appetite, so when our leptin levels are high, we typically feel fuller. Whilst ghrelin, aka ‘the hunger hormone’, is a hormone that can stimulate appetite.

According to recent research, sleep restriction increases your levels of ghrelin and decreases leptin. This combination could increase a person’s appetite. This in turn would make it much more challenging to stick to a calorie-controlled diet and might lead to overeating. Therefore, increased food intake could result in weight gain. So, in the long term, sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain.

In addition, reduced sleep has also been shown to impact the way our brains see food and our food choices. Recent research has revealed that the areas of the brain that are responsible for rewarding us are more active in response to food when we’re tired (six nights of only four hours of sleep), compared to those of us who’re fully rested (six days of nine hours’ sleep).

This could explain why we’re more likely to reach for the snacks when we’re tired and choose carb-heavy, rich and sweet foods.

Sleep and metabolism

How much sleep you’re getting also impacts your metabolism, mainly your glucose (sugar) metabolism. When we eat, our bodies release insulin, a hormone that helps process the glucose in our blood. However, poor sleep can impact our bodies’ response to insulin and reduce its effectiveness to process glucose.

We might be able to bounce back from the occasional poor night of sleep. In the long term, this could result in health conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is because an excess of glucose could be converted into fatty acids and stored as fat. We all know what that means, ladies: Potential weight gain.

Beating poor sleep with exercise

You’re probably not so keen to hit the gym after a poor night of sleep!

Also Read: Strength training at home: The complete guide for driven women

However, physical activity may act as a countermeasure against the impact of poor sleep. This is because exercise has a positive effect on appetite. Exercise works to reduce your ghrelin levels and increase the levels of peptide YY – a hormone associated with feeling full. Research has also shown that physical activity may help protect our metabolism from the impact of sleep deprivation by improving our body’s natural response to insulin.

However, the jury is still out on whether or not it’s enough to combat the effects of sleep deprivation.

Top tips for quality sleep when you’re trying to lose weight

There are many ways to improve the amount of sleep that you get each night. Here are our top tips for sleeping better when you’re trying to lose weight:

  • Create a regular sleep schedule – any big swings in your sleep schedule can cause changes in your metabolism and reduce insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your blood sugar to be elevated.
  • Sleep in a dark room – exposure to artificial light while sleeping, such as a TV or phone screen is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.
  • Don’t eat right before bed – eating late may reduce the success of weight loss attempts. Try to eat your dinner a few hours before you go to bed.
  • Reduce stress – chronic stress may lead to poor sleep and weight gain in several ways, including eating to cope with negative emotions.
  • Become an early bird – people with later bedtimes may consume more calories and be at a higher risk for weight gain. Whereas early birds may be more likely to maintain weight loss when compared to night owls.

While there is continuing debate within the healthcare community about the exact nature of this relationship, the current research points to a positive correlation between good sleep and healthy body weight.

So, it’s evident that good sleep is vital for losing or maintaining weight. A lack of sleep increases our appetite, changes our hormones and makes us more likely to overeat junk. Overall, this influences how body fat is lost.

Also Read: How to lose weight by changing your energy balance

Therefore, you should be protecting your beauty sleep alongside your diet and physical activity to have an overall healthy lifestyle!

Ready to smash your weight loss goals?

daily healthy habits for women

We hope these top tips for better sleep will help you understand what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle and boost your weight loss! Have you thought about how Trimtone could also help support your healthy living goals?

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