The Day X has come and you decided to lose some weight, get fit and adopt healthy lifestyles. Сlearly, the most important things to start with are ”The Eternal Couple” - diet and workout. Don’t you think there is something missing?
Yeap, you definitely have heard before about the necessity of eight-hour sleep. But how does it work? Does it really affect on your weight and health?
It does. A lot!
It Can Ruin All Your Dieting Progress
Sleeping less than seven hours per night—can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the study, dieters were put on different sleep schedules. When their bodies received adequate rest, half of the weight they lost was from fat. However when they cut back on sleep, the amount of fat lost was cut in half—even though they were on the same diet. What’s more, they felt significantly hungrier, were less satisfied after meals, and lacked energy to exercise. Overall, those on a sleep-deprived diet experienced a 55 percent reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts.
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Less Sleep - Less Effective
Unfortunately, the disastrous impact spreads beyond diet and into your workouts. No matter what your fitness goals are, having some muscle on your body is important. Muscle is the enemy of fat—it helps you burn fat and stay young. But lack of sleep is the enemy of muscle. Scientists from Brazil found that sleep debt decreases protein synthesis (your body’s ability to make muscle), causes muscle loss, and can lead to a higher incidence of injuries.
Just as important, lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone—your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning that also facilitates recovery.
But how it really works? Let the science explain…
Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. Get less than that, and your body will react in ways that lead even the most determined dieter straight to Ben & Jerry’s.
Why? Because insufficient sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, including two called ghrelin and leptin.
- Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin.
- Leptin, on the other hand, cues your brain to put the fork down. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food.
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloy and Metabolism found that sleeping less than six hours triggers the area of your brain that increases your need for food while also depressing leptin and stimulating ghrelin.
If that’s not enough, the scientists discovered exactly how sleep loss creates an internal battle that makes it nearly impossible to lose weight.
- Cortisol level rise when you don’t sleep enough. This is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cortisol also activates reward centers in your brain that make you want food.
A combination of high ghrelin and cortisol shut down the areas of your brain that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal, meaning you feel hungry all the time—even if you just ate a big meal.
Moreover, sleep deprivation makes you “metabolically groggy," University of Chicago researchers say. Within just 4 days of insufficient ZZZs, your body’s ability to process insulin - a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy - goes awry. Insulin sensitivity, the researchers found, dropped by more than 30%.
Here’s why that’s bad: When your body doesn't respond properly to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.
Lack of sleep also pushes you in the direction of the foods you know you shouldn’t eat. A study published in Nature Communications found that just one night of sleep deprivation was enough to impair activity in your frontal lobe, which controls complex decision-making.
Sleep and Become Thinner and Healthier
Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who are sleep deprived are a third more likely to gain 33 pounds over the next 16 years than those who receive just seven hours of sleep per night. And with all of the connections to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and cognitive failure, the need to sleep goes far beyond just looking better and seeing results from your diet and exercise efforts.
Simple Hacks To Fall Asleep In 30 Seconds
- Set A Formal Bedtime
Setting a formal bedtime – as in a time in which you force yourself to go to bed every evening – can be extremely beneficial in terms of helping you get to sleep post-haste. Not only can setting a formal bedtime help you physically, it has some strong psychological benefits. Setting a certain time for you to go to sleep helps your mind recognise that it is time for you to start unwinding and relaxing, much in the same way a child learns to sleep through the night. A regular bedtime also helps your brain adjust its levels of serotonin and melatonin, and helps balance your circadian rhythm out.
- Keep Your Room Cool
Keep your room as cool as possible – but not too cool. Years of scientific research have found that your body temperature is key when trying to get to sleep, as your body temperature naturally drops when you start to nod off. Therefore maintaining a cool, but not cold temperature in your room is essential. Similar to the way how coming out of a hot bath makes you feel sleepy thanks to your body’s temperature drop, the best course of action is keeping a fan or a window open to keep cool air circulating, and then taking the opportunity to snuggle down.
- Cut Out The Caffeine
One of the best sleep hacks out there is to cut out of the most prevalent addictive chemicals out there: caffeine. Yep, we’re all guilty of partaking in some caffeine at one point or another, whether it’s in our tea, coffee, or even out of chocolate. However, if you want to make sure you go to sleep as soon as possible, try and cut caffeine out of your diet after a certain point in the day. Studies indicate that cutting off your caffeine intake after 3pm helps improve quality of sleep, and the time it takes for you to get to sleep. So, if you want to try something to help you nod off in record time, try ditching that late evening cup of coffee, and see what happens.
- Invest In Some Blackout Curtains or Buy a Sleep Mask
This can be an issue no matter what your bedroom situation is, but it is always worth investing in a solid pair of blackout curtains if you’re looking for a great go-to sleep hack. With more and more light pollution in the day-to-day – your neighbour’s backyard spotlight, the streetlamps outside, everyone’s car headlights coming in at 1am – it can be harder and harder to sleep with all that extra light pouring in and messing up your chance at sleep. Blackout curtains are a great preventative measure, as they’ll make sure your sleep is longer, better, and is much less likely to be disturbed. More affordable alternative is a sleep mask. With the same effect but much cheaper. And you can find a really cute one in our store :)