Did you know that getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just important for your mental health, but it can also assist in weight loss? Seriously! Even more reasons to increase that shut eye, right?
When it comes to weight loss, diet and exercise are usually thought of as the two key factors that will help you to achieve results. However, sleep is an often-neglected lifestyle factor that also plays an important role.
It’s no secret that sleep is good for you. But for many, getting a good seven to nine hours a night (recommended for adults) is nothing but a pipe dream.
If this sounds like you, it could be time to review those sleeping patterns, as research shows that sleeping less than the recommended amount is linked to having greater body fat, increased risk of obesity, and can also influence how easily you lose weight on a calorie-controlled diet.
So why is sleep so important?
Generally, the goal for weight loss is usually to decrease body fat while retaining as much muscle mass as possible. Not obtaining the correct amount of sleep can determine how much fat is lost as well as how much muscle mass you retain while on a calorie restricted diet.
One study found that sleeping 5.5 hours each night over a two-week period while on a calorie-restricted diet resulted in less fat loss when compared to sleeping 8.5 hours each night. But it also resulted a greater loss of fat-free mass (including muscle).
Getting enough sleep may help prevent increases in calorie intake and appetite that can happen when you’re sleep deprived.
Many studies have found that people who are sleep deprived report having an increased appetite and a higher daily calorie intake, likely due to its effect on hormones that signal hunger and fullness.
Poor sleep can decrease your self-control and decision-making abilities, as well as increase your brain’s reaction to food. Poor sleep has also been linked to an increased intake of foods high in calories, fats, and sugar.
Getting enough sleep may increase your motivation to be more active and enhance your athletic performance, both of which can contribute to weight loss. Interestingly, being physically active can also improve your sleep.
So why should you go to bed earlier? Poor sleep can increase your calorie intake by increasing late-night snacking, portion sizes, and the time available to eat. Research also shows that the most productive and powerful sleep occurs before midnight – a great reason to get to bed early (and not just to avoid the urge to have a midnight snack).
If you’re trying to lose weight, not getting enough sleep can definitely sabotage your efforts.
Maybe it’s time to take a serious look at your sleep habits, and, at the very least attempt to go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night, which could make the world of difference to your weight loss efforts.
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