When it comes to weight loss most people think of diet or exercise but these are not the only factors you need to consider! From genetics to stress levels there are many factors that affect your ability to lose weight. One of the biggest factors is sleep. A healthy amount of sleep improves your ability to manage your body’s weight. (a healthy amount of sleep is 7-9 hours a night.)
Research has shown that getting the right amount of sleep can increase the effectiveness of your weight loss program and make your weight loss goals more achievable! Read on to see how sleep can influence your weight loss goals!
Less sleep can increase your appetite
One study published in PLOS Medicine: a peer-reviewed open-access journal found that the amount of sleep you get each night has a significant affect on two of your body’s hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin.
Leptin is a hormone that signals fullness in your brain and suppresses hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep your body actually produces less Leptin. This decrease in Leptin can make it difficult to recognize when you have eaten enough and can lead to potential over eating if you are not careful!
In addition to a decrease in Leptin your body also produces more of the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin is pretty much the opposite of Leptin. instead of making you feel full Ghrelin makes you hungry. Generally, Ghrelin levels are highest in your body when your stomach is empty and lowest after you have just eaten. However, when people are sleep-deprived they tend to have higher levels of Ghrelin throughout the day increasing their appetite.
In fact, this study found that of 1,000 people those with less sleep had on average 15% more Ghrelin in your body and 15% less leptin.
Losing weight can be difficult enough on its own so we recommend you try and keep these hormones in balance by paying close attention to your sleep schedule and trying to get in at least 7 hours each night!
Less sleep can negatively affect decision making
We know that sleep deprivation can mess with your body’s hormones, but it can also interfere with your ability to make healthy choices.
When someone doesn’t get enough sleep they actually find it harder to stay motivated and make decisions. A publication from frontiers in human neuroscience begins to explain the interactions between sleep habits and self-control.
A lack of sleep can reduce your response to outside stimulation. This makes it harder to respond to stay focused on what’s going on around you. A lack of focus, especially when it’s paired with increased hunger, can lead to mindlessly snacking when you aren’t actually hungry.
Self-control is also important when ignoring impulsiveness. When it comes to pleasurable impulses a sleep-deprived person is far less likely to consider the consequences of their decision. A second piece of cake or another beer become harder to resist when you aren’t focused on the long-term goals you have been working towards.
Less sleep can increase the likelihood of temptation
It may not be true for everyone but many people neglect sleep so they can meet up with friends or finish the last episode of their favorite show. Now there isn’t anything wrong with going out late or staying up late but it’s not healthy if you do it very often.
By staying up late and missing out on sleep it becomes harder to ignore temptations. Staying active at night can also increase the chance of exposure to unhealthy influences.
For example, most clubs and bars only open up late at night. This mean that anyone interested in meeting friends at the bar is most likely staying up late to do it. If someone goes out multiple nights in a row they can easily become sleep-deprived. Because of this lack of sleep it can becomes more difficult to say no to another beer or a trip to the pizza place across the street.
When it comes to staying fit its important to understand the behaviors that promote health and weight loss and the behaviors that prevent health and weight loss. In the case of sleep deprivation, not only can it put you in a position to make unhealthy choices but it can actively make it harder to say no when presented with those options!
Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule plays an essential role when reaching your weight loss goals. Poor sleep can lead to an imbalance in hormones that can increase your appetite and it can make it harder to ignore the hunger you are experiencing. By paying close attention to your sleep schedule and aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night you can stack the odds in your favor to achieve your weight loss goals.
It’s no secret that weight loss can be difficult. Don’t make it harder by letting yourself miss out on valuable sleep each night or by exposing yourself to unnecessary temptations.
Having trouble falling asleep? Check out our article on 10 Foods That Help You Sleep and 5 Foods Keeping You Awake!
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