Can’t lose weight? The answer is in making sure you get the right amount of sleep, which is 7-9 hours for adults. Lacking even just 1.5 hours of sleep makes it harder for you to shed pounds and you may even gain more. Here are the various ways it does that:
Sleep deprivation creates an imbalance in specific hormones
The two main hormones responsible for our hunger are ghrelin and leptin. The first triggers hunger while the other prompts fullness. When you lack sleep, the brain releases more ghrelin while decreasing the other, making you think you need more food than you do. Staying awake for more hours also means increased chances of eating more, like snacking after dinner.
You make poor food choices and give in to cravings
The brain’s frontal lobe needs enough rest in order to function well. This is the part of the brain used when making decisions and exercising self-discipline. Your pleasure center also tends to be easily activated when you’re sleep deprived, encouraging you to indulge in unhealthy food. Have you noticed how you crave more salty food when you’re stressed?
You feel exhausted
Despite how much self-discipline you have and still manage to work out, you won’t be able to do as much in the long run as you would’ve if you had sufficient rest at night. Studies show that getting the right amount of sleep improves your overall performance during physically strenuous activities. Also, you’ll notice you feel more stressed because of a spike in cortisol, the stress hormone.
Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) decreases
Did you know your body naturally burns calories while you’re doing nothing? Sadly, this drastically slows down when you lack sleep. It decreases by 5% the morning after an all-nighter and by another 20% after a meal. You also start to lose muscle, which is responsible for burning the fat while you’re in rest mode.
Your chances of gaining more fat and diabetes increase
Our body needs sugar to create energy and it relies on a hormone, called insulin, to be absorbed into the different cells from the bloodstream. When the body lacks sleep, it rejects insulin and your body will try to produce more to replace the unused ones. The extra insulin tells your body it’s still hungry. Then, instead of burning the calories, it stores them as fat.
The next time you think sacrificing an hour or two of sleep to work out is a good idea, read through this article one more time. You could also just remind yourself that less sleep means more fat and other health problems. Let your body have that much-needed shut-eye by going to sleep just a few minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. Eventually, you’ll get back to sleeping through 7-9 hours easily.