How Quality Sleep is Important for Weight Loss?


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The importance of getting quality sleep can’t be sidelined when it comes to wellness, especially if you want to lose weight. Unfortunately, most people are not getting enough hours of sleep and that’s why no matter how hard they work out or change their diets, they still have problems attaining their weight loss goals. So, if you are trying to lose weight, how is getting enough hours of sleep important for you? Below is a review highlighting the relationship between adequate sleep and weight loss.

10 tips for better sleep

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


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Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways
  • Quality sleep is one of the most important factors for wellness including weight loss.
  • If you have a disruptive sleep/wake cycle, chances are that you will gain significant weight.
  • There is a direct relationship between quality sleep, insulin resistance, and weight loss.
  • Sleep-deprived persons are more likely to feel less motivated and more fatigued during the day.
  • If you are getting adequate rest during the night, then you will end up consuming fewer calories and consequentially end up losing weight.

The Science of Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep is a crucial but often underestimated factor in the realm of weight loss. Beyond the feeling of being well-rested, there’s a profound scientific connection between sleep and shedding pounds. To grasp the essence of this link, let’s dive into the biology behind it.

  1. Hormone Harmony: Sleep holds the strings to key appetite-regulating hormones, primarily leptin and ghrelin.
  • Leptin: Produced by fat cells, leptin is the “fullness hormone.” It signals to the brain when you’ve had enough to eat. Quality sleep helps maintain optimal leptin levels, reducing hunger.
  • Ghrelin: This is the “hunger hormone” produced in the stomach. Sleep deprivation tends to boost ghrelin, making you feel hungrier.
  1. Insulin Sensitivity: Sleep impacts insulin sensitivity, affecting how your body processes glucose. Poor sleep can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to weight gain and diabetes.
  2. Cortisol Control: Adequate sleep helps regulate cortisol, the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels can promote fat storage, particularly around the abdomen.
  3. Metabolic Slowdown: Chronic sleep deprivation can slow down your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories efficiently.
  4. Cravings and Food Choices: Sleep-deprived individuals often crave high-calorie, sugary foods. This can lead to overeating and weight gain.
  5. Physical Activity: Lack of sleep can sap your energy and motivation for physical activity, reducing your overall calorie expenditure.

Understanding the science of sleep and its impact on weight loss is crucial for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Prioritizing quality sleep is just as important as diet and exercise in your weight loss journey.

How Quality Sleep Promotes Weight Loss

Quality sleep is important for both mental and physical wellness. It promotes weight loss by facilitating the following:

Increased Insulin Resistance

There is a direct relationship between quality sleep, insulin resistance, and weight loss. Note that if you are getting quality sleep, then this can significantly reduce the body’s insulin resistance.

Generally, blood sugar levels are bound to surge while you are sleeping. This is known as the dawn effect and it usually happens around 4 am to 8 am. However, if you are getting enough rest and your body is functioning optimally, then the body can handle the excess insulin by telling the liver cells to absorb the extra glucose content. Consequentially, this will lead to reduced insulin levels and, therefore, less insulin resistance.

The reduced resistance promotes weight loss because less insulin will be in the blood. Chances are that you will feel lease hungrier, avert the development of type 2 diabetes, and maintain a healthy weight. The more hours of quality sleep you get, the fewer chances of your blood becoming insulin resistant.

Increased Physical Activity

If you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, then you must be ready to be physically active. On the other hand, if you want to be physically active, then you must get quality sleep. The relationship between physical activity and sleep is actually mutual since regular exercising is known to make adults sleep better and longer.

Getting a chance to rest for longer allows your body to relax, rejuvenate itself while the worn-out muscles and joints are repaired. Besides that, you will most likely wake up feeling more motivated.

Sleep-deprived persons are more likely to feel less motivated and more fatigued during the day. As a result, they are less likely to engage in physical activities and with time are more likely to gain weight. Being physically active after getting enough rest will improve your athletic performance and you are likely to shed any extra weight.

Reduced Calorie Intake

If you are getting adequate rest during the night, then you will end up consuming fewer calories and consequentially end up losing weight.

According to the Sleep Foundation, getting a good night’s sleep promotes the healthy natural production of the hormones that control appetite, including ghrelin and leptin.

Adequate production of leptin hormone, for instance, will help to effectively regulate the body’s energy levels and combat the chances of constant hunger pangs. Besides that, it helps to regulate fat storage that would otherwise lead to weight gain in excess. Meanwhile, moderate production of ghrelin helps to regulate appetite as well as ft production. Generally, a sufficient night of sleep will effectively regulate these two hormones and create the right balance between satiation and appetite.

However, lack of sleep can easily create an imbalance between these two hormones, leading to increased food cravings and excess storage of fat in the body cells. Eventually, it will become difficult to manage your portion sizes and you will end up gaining weight rather than losing. If you want to reduce your calorie intake, get the recommended 8 hours of sleep.

Healthy BMI

Quality sleep has always been linked to a healthy BMI and weight loss. While people’s sleep requirements tend to vary depending on age, underlying medical condition, occupation, and surrounding environment, it’s generally advisable that you shouldn’t get less than seven hours of sleep every night.

For instance, studies have found that nurses who sleep for 5 hours or less were 15% more likely to have a higher BMI due to obesity compared to their counterparts who had 7 hours of sleep or more every night. This means that shorter sleep durations are associated with weight gain and obesity that lead to a higher BMI. Additionally, those who suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are more likely to gain weight rapidly.

Having a healthy sleep-wake cycle is one of the factors that you should consider if you want to get a healthier BMI. Your chances of gaining weight are reduced since the body has a better chance of handling all the required processes optimally without storage of excess fat.

Reduced Food Cravings and Healthier Food Choices

If you are not getting adequate sleep, then this will alter the way your brain works. You will find yourself making unhealthy food choices and may have problems resisting tempting foods. The thing is that sleep deprivation usually dulls activities in the brain’s frontal lobe. Note that the frontal lobe is responsible for self-control and decision-making. If you are going to make unhealthy food choices, then chances are that you will get weight.

Quality sleep helps to counter such effects. it effectively activates the frontal lobe, making it possible for you to exercise self-control and make proper food decisions. You will be able to fight your food cravings by not engaging the brain’s reward centers that usually encourage binge eating. The result? You will definitely attain your weight loss goals since your body won’t have an affinity to high carb, fat, and calory foods.

Increased Resting Metabolism Rate

Resting Metabolism Rate (RMR) is simply the number of calories that the body burns when you are completely at rest. RMR is usually affected by weight, age, sex, height, as well as muscle mass. If you are sleep-deprived, then chances are that your RMR will be higher and your body will end up burning fewer calories. This effect will result in unwanted weight gain.

Generally, good sleep patterns usually lead to increased RMR. This means that the body ends up burning more calories while it’s at rest. the increased rate of metabolism encourages the development of lean mass and minimizes the accumulation of fat cells that would otherwise lead to weight gain.

Reduced Stress Levels

Adequate sleep helps to promote weight loss by reducing sleep. The more sleep you get, the lower your levels of stress hormone cortisol, which normally causes an increase in your appetite and causes water retention. With reduced stress levels, you are more likely to make conscious food choices and this will give you a better chance of losing weight.

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How to Ensure You Get Enough Sleep

Your body needs around 7-8 hours of sleep daily. For you to attain your weight loss goals, you must have a healthy sleep-wake cycle. But how can you ensure that you get enough hours of sleep? Below are some of the most effective tips to apply.

Avoid exercising late at night

Yes, exercising is good for a healthy weight. However, if you are going to exercise from 9 pm, you will definitely suffer from disturbed sleep. This is because, at this point, the body will be experiencing a heightened metabolic rate. If you are going to consume a heavy dinner, then things can only get worse. You will end up dealing with high metabolism, bloating, and a high level of acidity which will ruin your sleep.

Increase your water intake during the day

Dehydration is one of the main causes of daytime fatigue and it has a high potential of ruining good sleep patterns. Your body needs a constant water supply since almost 60% of the body is water with much of it going to the brain and the development of muscles. So, water is essential in promoting important bodily functions including sleep.

Turn off your electronic gadgets at night

An hour or so before you go to bed, ensure that you have turned off all your electronic gadgets including your mobile phone. This is because the light emitted by these screens usually restrain the production of melatonin, an essential hormone that controls the wake/sleep cycle.

Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening

Coffee is a stimulant and therefore taking it in the evening will disrupt your sleep. For the sake of quality sleep, make sure that you avoid caffeine and caffeinated drinks after 4 pm.

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The Bottom Line

Quality sleep is one of the most important factors for wellness including weight loss. If you have a disruptive sleep/wake cycle, chances are that you will gain significant weight. This could be due to an imbalance of the key hormones that control appetite, increased stress levels, poor insulin resistance, and low resting metabolic rate among others. Adequate sleep helps to prevent the possibilities of all these happening and ensure that you are well-rested so that the body can function optimally by metabolizing excess fat cells. It also ensures that you make healthy and conscious food decisions and in the end, you will end up attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.

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