When most people think of a beach body, they think of countless hours spent in the gym and exercising. On the contrary, when most people think of a person struggling with obesity, they envision a couch potato sleeping in front of the television. Did you ever think about sleep loss and weight are connected? It may be surprising to learn that sufficient sleep is directly linked to positive impacts on calorie consumption and overall weight loss! In fact, sleep actually plays a very crucial role in ensuring that the body is in great fitness and health.
Here are 3 ways sleep can help people with weight loss:
Higher Levels of Energy
Firstly, sleep and weight loss are connected because of energy levels. Sufficient sleep leads to higher levels of energy and greater control of your day. More energy is beneficial because you are able to use that energy to go to the gym, work out, or play a sport and burn calories. Low energy levels, on the other hand, cause people to become more lazy and lethargic throughout the daytime, leading to lower levels of movement and a failure to achieve a calorie deficit (which is how you lose fat).
Less Calorie Intake
Secondly, skipping sleep can lead to more frequent eating and/or greater amounts of calorie intake. Researchers have found that skipping sleep has been found to actually dull activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, which is the area responsible for impulse control, while increasing activity in the brain’s reward centers. This usually translates into a failure to resist food cravings that ultimately increase your calorie intake. A lack of sleep also can lead to individuals to prefer foods that are high in carbohydrates. Such foods are usually high in calories as well, leading to weight gain rather than weight loss.
Finally, sufficient sleep allows for your body to process foods (specifically sugars) more effectively. With sleep deprivation, the body begins to have difficulty processing insulin, which is a hormone that is needed to digest sugars. Because of this difficulty, the body has trouble processing these sugars in your bloodstream and ends up storing them as fat. Further, metabolism in your body has been found to decrease as a result of sleep deprivation. For more information on the function of sleep and how it impacts the health of the entire body check out The Ultimate Guide to Sleep Health.
Now, you may be skeptical of how much of a difference sleep deprivation can have on your weight. However, researchers in the US have discovered that people who slept less than 6.5 hours on an average night shed around 270 calories from their daily intake when they begin to get an extra 1.2 hours of sleep. To put into perspective, that is around 34 grams of bacon!When these sleeping habits are sustained over three years, they are projected to result in a loss of nearly 12kg (or 26lbs).
As such, it is obviously extremely important to gauge the quality of the sleep you are getting each night. Common obstacles that prevent people from achieving a sufficient amount of sleep, however, include snoring and sleep apnea. A great way to test the quality of your sleep is to invest in a sleep tracking machine that will tell you how much sleep you get, as well as the quality of your sleep. Doing so might just reveal how you might be able to more effectively get high-quality sleep and decrease your weight efficiently.
In conclusion, sleeping itself will not help you reach a rock solid six-pack. The relationship between sleep and weight loss reveals that it is important to realize the interconnectedness. Obtaining a sufficient amount of high-quality sleep translates over to the increased health of the rest of your physical body. It allows you to take better control over your daily life. Recognizing this will only help one more efficiently achieve one’s fitness and health goals.