It’s natural to assume that sleeping less and exercising more contributes to your weight loss efforts. In fact, there are certain benefits to getting enough sleep when you’re trying to lose weight in a healthy manner.
The most obvious relationship between sleeping and losing weight is that going to bed at a reasonable hour, instead of staying up late, can help you avoid caving in to a case of the late night munchies. Late night eating is often associated with bingeing. It’s quiet. The stress of the day is behind you. Suddenly, the idea of curling up with a pint of ice cream and a good book seems like a very appealing option. Eating after dinner is usually about neither hunger nor nutrition. Avoiding night time eating by going to bed earlier is a strategy that works for many. In addition, being well-rested will help give you clarity to make healthy food choices.
In addition, being sleep-deprived interferes with the optimum functioning of your metabolism, generally slowing it down. There are hormonal factors at play as well. Two hormones that are relevant to the sleep and weight loss equation are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates hunger and leptin is the hormone that sends a message to your brain that you have had enough to eat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin. No wonder bingeing late at night can be so darn compelling.
There is an additional hormonal factor to consider. Cortisol is the so-called “stress hormone”. Under normal circumstances, the level of cortisol in the bloodstream rises in the morning and is the lowest late in the evening. The stress associated with lack of sufficient sleep can cause cortisol levels to rise, inhibiting weight loss.
As you look for ways to improve your health and to be successful with your weight loss efforts, getting enough sleep, and better quality sleep, can help. If you want to improve the quality of your sleep in order to complement your weight loss efforts, try avoiding caffeine after the early afternoon. Not surprisingly, exercise will help improve the quality of your sleep as will avoiding heavy meals close to bedtime.
Author: Rebeca Espinoza