Losing weight is one of the most difficult tasks about which any fitness enthusiast will tell you. Mostly when it comes to losing weight, people concentrate on the diet as well as on the exercise regimen which needs to be followed. However, people tend to ignore one very important thing when it comes to weight loss and that is precious sleep. A good night’s sleep can contribute in a great manner to losing weight in the most effective manner. You might be eating in the healthiest manner and following a rigorous exercise regimen and still not getting the desirable results. The missing link in losing weight might be lack of good quality sleep. Now it is important to understand as how sleep impacts weight loss. Read on to know more on this.
The science behind link between weight loss and sleep
Weight loss and sleep are intrinsically related to one another. During the time of sleeping, the body actually gets into repair mode. Though the brain keeps on working even when we are asleep, it works less and gets rest. Moreover, during sleep, the muscle tissues in the body start growing and regenerating. Also, there is proper regulation of hormones in the body so that all the functions are carried out in the best manner.
And when the body does not get ample sleep, it affects exercise plans as well as diet plans. A tired mind will be unable in making the right choices, while a well-rested brain will make proper choices when required. A person wakes up in an irritable and groggy mood when the body and mind does not get abundant rest and sleep. Even with caffeine, this irritable feeling cannot be got rid of and one has a sleepy feeling throughout the day.
Along with bad mood, there are other problems too which come with impaired sleep. Cognitive abilities and performances are also hampered drastically with lack of sleep. Concentration, memory, decision making and proving solving abilities and skills will also be impacted. To improve mood and other problems related to sleep problems, you might start indulging in various kinds of junk and sugary food items like chocolate cake, burgers, chips, cookies etc.
These things start becoming a habit if you don’t get proper sleep. And by the time you understand the loss that has taken place, losing weight will become an even bigger problem.
1. Sleep helps in regulating hormones which play a role in stimulating feeling of hunger
If you thought that just lack of willpower and determination is the cause behind those food cravings, you are mistaken. The feeling of hunger is actually play of hormones (1). There are two hormones, which send signals to the brain to understand if you are full or hungry. The first hormone is known as ghrelin and it helps in stimulating hunger. The second hormone is known as leptin and this sends signals to the brain that one is full after eating.
In various research reports, it has been proved that people who slept for less than six hours had disturbed hormone levels. More ghrelin was produced by the body in such a case and less amount of leptin. These unbalanced hormone levels lead to hunger pangs and food cravings and a person tends to eat a lot without any portion control. The person also ends up gorging on junk foods.
2. Craving for various kinds of comfort food and connection with stress, lack of sleep and hormones
Cortisol is a well-known stress hormone and higher levels of this hormone are produced by the body when the body is sleep-deprived. You might not know, but cortisol has shown to trigger fat gain, which is related to stress in the body. The reward centers in the brain are also activated and this leads to activation of food cravings in the body. The craving is so strong that one would consume junk food to no extent. One continues gorging on such stuff till complete pleasure is obtained and one feels great. Gradually the junk foods start becoming comfort foods for the eater. With lack of sleep, you will keep on encouraging the craving and keep on eating more thus increasing weight on the long run.
3. Sleep hampers insulin production in the body along with the way how fat cells function in the body
Waking up groggy and dazed is not something that you want. But when you experience the feeling, know that the cells in the body also have the same kind of feeling, including the fat cells in the body. When the fat cells in the body have a sluggish feeling, it means that the metabolism in the body is also slowed down. When the body gets insufficient sleep for almost 4-5 days, the body becomes less sensitive to insulin. As a result, the fatty cells in the body are not able to remove lipids and fatty acids from the blood. The result is that there is buildup of lipids and fatty acids in the blood. When this happens, the body tends to produce more volumes of insulin. When excess insulin is produced in the body, it will lead to storage of fats in the wrong places in the body. Such fats are very difficult to remove and are left unburnt. The result is fat gain and weight gain at the same time. So, even if there is a fitness plan which is being followed, losing weight becomes really difficult.
4. With less sleep you won’t feel like exercising or working out
When one wakes up really groggy and tired in the morning, he will have no will or intention of hitting the gym or working out. He would preferably get into the couch again. This is clear indication of the fact that lack of sleep can take a toll on the fitness regimen and journey of a person. As a result, losing weight will be a problem without proper working out and exercising.
5. Muscle growth and regeneration is slowed down by the process of sleep deprivation
When a person develops more muscles, his metabolic rate gets higher. And this is the reason that exercise is considered as a very important part of weight loss. During exercising, many muscles tend to sustain small wears and tears. When the muscles repair themselves, they tend to increase in mass significantly. The body’s metabolism is improved to a great extent with exercising and this remains applicable even when we are at complete rest (2). Minimum seven hours rest is required by the muscles in the body for repairing themselves and for growing at a good rate. So, if you follow the fitness plan consistently, but do not get proper sleep, you will not get desirable results.
6. A good night’s sleep is equivalent to good quality medicine
If you thought that good sleep is only required for losing weight effectively, you are mistaken. The body also needs sleep and adequate rest for maintaining physical and mental health. Try maintaining a routine for your sleeping patterns and you can get to see great results. With good quality sleep in the night, you will be able to perform well in all spheres of your life –personal and professional and be successful.