If you’re on a weight loss journey but haven’t considered the role of sleep, you might be missing a vital piece of the puzzle.
Proper sleep is essential for weight loss, but what defines “proper” sleep, and how can you balance it with your weight loss goals?
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the connection between sleep and weight loss and provide practical insights for achieving that balance.
With that said, let’s dive in.
Is Sleep Important for Weight Loss?
Sleep is crucial for weight loss. There are countless studies that link poor sleep to weight gain. When you don’t sleep enough, your body’s hormones get out of balance. Ghrelin, a hunger hormone, increases and makes you crave more food. On the flip side, leptin, which controls fullness, decreases, so you don’t feel satisfied.
Moreover, poor sleep disrupts your metabolism and causes your body to store more fat. It also impairs decision-making, leading to poor food choices. Aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep can aid weight loss by maintaining hormonal balance and supporting better food decisions.
How Sleep Helps With Weight Loss
Here we’ll explore the top ways sleep helps with losing weight:
Controls Your Appetite
Getting enough sleep helps control your appetite. When you lack sleep, you tend to eat more. Sleep-deprived folks consume about 385 extra calories daily, mainly from fatty foods. They also experience stronger hunger, cravings, and bigger portion sizes.
This appetite surge results from changes in hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Insufficient sleep boosts ghrelin, the hunger hormone, while reducing leptin, which signals fullness. As a result, you feel hungrier and eat more. So, quality sleep is vital for moderating your appetite and avoiding excessive calorie intake.
Helps You Make Better Food Decisions
A good night’s sleep can boost your ability to make healthier food choices. When you’re sleep-deprived, your brain’s decision-making processes get wonky. This can make it tough to resist tempting, less healthy foods.
Furthermore, when you lack sleep, your brain’s reward centers get all fired up by food. A study found that sleep-deprived folks had stronger brain reactions to high-calorie food images and were willing to spend more on food.
So, after a poor night’s sleep, that ice cream becomes even more enticing, and resisting becomes harder. Lack of sleep can also heighten your sense of smell for calorie-packed foods, leading to increased consumption.
In response to low energy, you might opt for high-calorie, sugary, and fatty foods. So, quality sleep helps you make better food choices and avoid unhealthy indulgences.
Improves Your Metabolism
Adequate sleep helps you maintain a healthy metabolism. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR), the calories your body burns at rest, depends on various factors. These include age, weight, height, and muscle mass. Interestingly, sleep duration can also impact RMR.
A study with 47 participants revealed that sleep restriction for 5 days significantly decreased RMR, but it bounced back to normal after one night of “catch-up” sleep. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effect of sleep loss on metabolism.
Sleep deprivation can also hinder fat burning (fat oxidation). One study found lower fat oxidation in sleep-deprived individuals, affecting energy from fat. Poor-quality sleep might decrease muscle synthesis, potentially lowering RMR, but larger and longer studies are necessary for a clearer picture.
Improves Your Physical Activity
The connection between sleep and physical activity is strong. Sleep impacts physical activity, and physical activity affects sleep.
Regular exercise improves your sleep quality and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. Lack of sleep can lead to daytime fatigue which reduces motivation for physical activity, and promotes sedentary behavior. This means you burn fewer calories, making it harder to create a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Furthermore, inadequate sleep can harm athletic performance by reducing reaction time, fine motor skills, muscular power, endurance, and problem-solving abilities. It also increases the risk of injury and delays recovery.
Now that you know how important sleep is for weight loss, let’s explore how to balance sleep and weight loss.
How to Balance Sleep and Weight Loss
Balancing your sleep is important for your weight loss journey. Here are some simple steps to help:
Prioritize Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep each night. Make a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Create a Bedtime Routine: Relax before bed with calming activities like reading or a warm bath. Avoid screens that emit bright light.
Watch Your Diet: Eat balanced meals with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Avoid big meals close to bedtime.
Be Active: Regular exercise can help you sleep better and aid in weight loss.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: These can interfere with sleep. Avoid them in the evening.
Manage Stress: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to reduce stress, which can affect sleep.
Sleep-Friendly Environment: Make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet for a restful sleep.
Track Progress: Monitor your sleep patterns and weight loss goals to see how they are connected.
Apart from that, here’s a recommended solution for weight loss:
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Beyond Body doesn’t stop at food. It provides personalized exercise routines based on your quiz responses. Moreover, it recognizes the significance of holistic well-being. It addresses aspects like sleep, mindfulness, stress management, and work-life balance, understanding that these factors are crucial in your weight loss journey.
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