Everyone knows that to lose weight, you need to be more active. But did you know that a lack of sleep can actually hinder your weight loss efforts? With the obesity epidemic spiraling out of control, so many studies are being done to help fix the problem. Now more than ever, a connection between sleep deficiency and weight gain is becoming apparent. So, if you’re struggling to lose weight, you may need to consider changing your bedtime…
Sleep and Weight Loss: A Few Sleepless Statistics
Many people know they should be getting more sleep, but they don’t see it as having a big enough influence over their health and fitness to actually make a change. Well, here are a few facts that might change your mind about your Zzzz’s…
- Those who do not get an adequate amount of sleep are 50% more likely to be obese. In a study of 635,000 people, adults who did not get enough sleep were 50% more likely to be obese. Now, here’s the really scary part… Children who did not get enough sleep were 90% more likely to be obese!
- People who get more than seven hours of sleep per night are more likely to succeed in losing weight. Another study showed that those who got more than seven hours each night not only had better sleep quality, but they were also 33% more likely to succeed in losing weight.
- Sleep deprivation causes your body to hold on to fat tissue and lose muscle. In a recent weight loss study, those who cut calories and slept less than 5.5 hours each night lost 55% less body fat and 60% more lean body mass than those who got 8.5 hours of sleep.
- A lack of sleep stimulates your appetite. Inadequate amounts of sleep actually affect the part of your brain that controls your appetite and pleasure eating. Too little sleep decreases levels of the hormone leptin, which signals the brain that you are full. And, it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone which stimulates your appetite. This means you will feel more of an urge to eat and less satisfied when you do.
*Information from studies conducted by Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Catch Those Zzzz’s
So, how many hours of sleep are you getting each night? Could these studies be about you? Now that I’ve convinced you to hit the hay a little sooner, let’s make it a habit. When you’re used to getting 5, maybe 6 hours of sleep each night and going to bed at 12am, it’s not always easy to suddenly move your bedtime up to 10pm. But by making a gradual transition, you will be able to get more sleep and solidify this habit. A few things that may help with this:
- Move your bedtime up 15 minutes each week to gradually train your body to fall asleep earlier. This will help you avoid hours of tossing and turning brought on by an abrupt change in your bedtime.
- Stop eating at least 3 hours before bed and avoid caffeine after 2pm. Your sleep can be disrupted by digestion when you eat too close to bedtime.
- Turn off the TV and computer! They stimulate your brain and eyes and can keep you awake. Stop watching TV or looking at anything with a screen about an hour before bed to “turn off” your brain.
- Do something soothing. Read a book, take a bath, etc. to relax and prepare your body for rest.
- Set a consistent bedtime and wake up time. Form a pattern, and your body will catch on.
By consistently going to bed early and getting an adequate amount of sleep, not only will have greater success in losing weight, but you’ll improve your energy, mood, brain functionality, and overall quality of life! So, make it a habit to catch those Zzzz’s!