As adults, we need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. However, a staggering, 35.2% of Americans say they get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. Neglecting to get enough sleep can hurt their weight management goals.
How exactly does sleep impact weight loss? Keep reading. You may decide that it is time to get help with your sleep habits and health. There is a definite correlation between lack of sleep and weight management challenges!
Boost Your Metabolism
Getting enough sleep could help jumpstart your metabolism. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is how many calories your body burns while at rest. Sleep duration affects your RMR, as well as your weight, height, age, and muscle mass.
Without enough sleep, your RMR could decrease. However, you can bring your RMR back up to its baseline if you get proper sleep after a difficult night.
Neglecting to get enough sleep can suppress fat oxidation (the breakdown of fat cells into usable energy). Poor sleep quality could also decrease muscle synthesis.
Enhanced Physical Activity
Neglecting to get enough sleep can lower your energy levels, impacting your ability to work out. Meanwhile, a lack of physical activity could worsen your sleep quality. What a vicious cycle!
A lack of sleep can also cause daytime fatigue. You might feel less motivated to work out and more motivated to lounge or relax.
Neglecting to get enough sleep can also affect athletic performance by affecting your:
- Muscle power
- Problem-solving skills
- Reaction times
- Fine motor skills
Your ability to recover after an intense workout could diminish, too. Your body needs rest in order to build muscle!
As a runner, I (Michelle) have seen the detrimental impact of not enough restful sleep on my energy and stamina during longer training runs. I find that if I start a run tired, I tend to feel more sluggish and my legs feel heavy while I’m running. I also know that I’m more prone to pushing too hard and getting injured.
Sleep is CRITICAL for post-workout recovery AND pre-workout strength and capacity.
Avoid Weight Gain
If you get fewer than six or seven hours of sleep, you’re getting short sleep. Unfortunately, short sleep is linked to a higher body mass index (BMI), as well as weight gain.
There’s a 41% increased obesity risk for adults who sleep fewer than seven hours every night. In adults who sleep seven to nine hours a night, sleep wasn’t a factor in obesity.
Short sleep durations could also lead to a great waist circumference, which indicates an accumulation of belly fat.
Neglecting to get at least eight hours of sleep each night could cause weight gain in children and adolescents as well. In fact, short sleep durations can increase the likelihood of obesity in children by 30 to 45%.
With every additional hour of sleep you get, your BMI score could decrease.
Sleep is only one factor in the development of obesity. However, short sleep durations could also negatively affect hunger levels. You could feel the need to consume more calories from high-sugar and high-fat foods if you’re not getting enough sleep.
The failure to get enough sleep could affect your natural hunger hormone levels. Your ghrelin levels will increase, which can make you feel hungry. Your leptin levels, which help you feel full, can drop as well.
Your stomach releases the hormone ghrelin to signal hunger within the brain. Before you eat, levels are high, decreasing after you eat. Fat cells release the hormone leptin, which suppresses hunger and tells the brain you’re full.
Neglecting to get enough sleep could have an impact on the sympathetic nervous system as well. Your cortisol levels (the hormone related to stress) can increase as a result.
Low sleep can also suppress insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is linked to greater fat storage.
Make Better Food Choices
Sleep deprivation could affect your ability to make healthy food choices.
Neglecting to get enough sleep each night alters the way your brain works. It could affect your decision-making, impacting your ability to make healthy choices. You might notice it’s more difficult to resist fatty or sugary foods, too.
In fact, the reward centers of the brain are more stimulated by food if you’re not getting enough sleep. A poor night’s sleep could trick your brain into thinking unhealthy foods are more rewarding than healthy alternatives. You’ll have a more difficult time practicing self-control if you’re not getting enough sleep.
If you’re struggling to make smart food choices, consider working with our team to accomplish your weight loss goals.
Do you tend to snack late at night? Try going to bed earlier. An earlier bedtime might help prevent late-night snacking.
Otherwise, eating too late could hinder your weight loss goals.
When you push your bedtime, you create a larger window for eating. When there’s a large gap between dinner and breakfast the next morning, you’re more likely to snack. Late-night snacking is connected to a higher BMI and greater weight gain.
It’s also associated with decreased fat oxidation, which can further hinder your weight loss goals.
Try to limit food intake at least two hours before bed. If you are hungry before bed, try a protein-rich snack instead. For example, you can snack on cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.
Moderate Your Appetite
Getting eight hours of sleep each night could also prevent increases in calorie intake. When you’re sleep-deprived, hormones can stimulate your appetite, causing unhealthy snacking.
People who are sleep-deprived have an increased appetite and higher daily calorie intake. In fact, people who struggle with sleep deprivation consume 385 more calories per day than others. A larger portion of calories tends to come from fat sources, too.
Neglecting to get enough sleep could also cause increases in:
- Chocolate and fat intake
- Portion sizes
- Food cravings
Remember, sleep deprivation can affect the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll experience an increased appetite.
Catch Those Z’s: Get Sleep for Better Weight Management
Neglecting to get enough sleep each night could hinder your weight management goals. Instead of struggling, look for ways to improve your sleep quality. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep each day.
Catching those z’s could make all the difference in your ability to lose and/or maintain your desired weight.