Sleep and Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, everyone on Earth has heard of the importance of diet and exercise. But if that truly is all there is to it, then why do so many people still struggle to shed that extra weight? It seems all too easy to make the assumption that if someone is carrying more weight than they’d like, perhaps they are not doing enough dieting or hitting the gym hard enough. It turns out that there is a little more to weight loss than eating less and exercising more. Weight loss is less related to cutting calories and more related to hormonal responses. One big regulator of those responses is a good night’s sleep. Read on to learn more about sleep and weight loss.
The Role of Hormones
To understand how sleep plays a role in weight gain, it is important to become familiar with the hormone’s leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol. The hormone leptin plays a role in regulating appetite. It sends signals to the brain to let you know when you are full. Conversely, the role the hormone ghrelin is to stimulate appetite. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Though it can come in quite handy if anyone ever needs to lift a Buick off of their toddler, another one of its jobs is to trigger fat storage.
How Lack of Sleep Can Hinder Weight Loss
Those who are still unable to shed unwanted weight should take a look at their sleep habits. Not getting enough sleep has been associated with low levels of leptin which can disrupt the signal your brain receives when the stomach is full. It has also been associated with high levels of ghrelin. This means that too little sleep and the extra ghrelin that comes with it will be sending a signal to your brain to continue eating. Sleep deprivation can also increase levels of cortisol. Since cortisol is a fat storage hormone, high levels of it due to poor sleep may be yet another reason the pounds are not coming off.
How to Get Plenty of Sleep
Existing on very little sleep should not be considered a badge of honor. Though the exact requirements will vary, getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night is a good goal to aim for. If that is a struggle, try the following:
- Set a sleep schedule and stick to it
- Avoid mobile device screens for an hour prior to bed
- Get 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise each day
- Use yoga or meditation to aid in relaxation
- Avoid caffeine outside of the morning hours
If you believe you have been doing everything right by eating a healthy diet free of junk and filled with nutrient-dense foods while getting plenty of exercise, yet you are not seeing the scale move in the right direction, it is time to consider if your sleep habits need improving. Commit to getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and allow yourself time to relax before bed. A few extra hours of shuteye may be exactly the missing piece needed to give those extra pounds their final sendoff.
The key to long term sustainable weight loss results is developing lifestyle habits and diet that you actually enjoy and will stick with for a long time. WeightLoss-Solutions can help us develop simple lifestyle and eating habits that will help achieve desired weight loss and optimum health.
Learn more at WeightLoss-Solutions.com.