Sleep and Weight Loss
Mention sleep in our modern world and people tend to associate those people getting less sleep, as productive and hardworking. On the other side of the coin, laziness and a lack of motivation is associated with sleeping longer.
However, recent studies about sleep deprivation correlate a lack of sleep with weight gain and other health ailments. Many studies demonstrate quality sleep is a key factor to living a healthier, longer life.
Let’s take a look at what happens when you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep. For most adults this is between 7 and 8 hours a night of quality sleep every night.
Eating – More or Less?
More studies are showing that the less we sleep, the more we eat. Of course, this works against weight loss efforts! When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies initiate hormonal changes to rectify the imbalance. These imbalances cause a shift in hormone production that causes us to feel less satisfied.
The production of hormones that promote hunger, like grehlin, are increased when we receive less sleep. Grehlin stimulates hunger. It also reduces the amount of calories we burn and increases the rate in which our bodies store fat.
Sleep deprivation has also been shown to lead to higher endocannabinoid levels in the body. This has been demonstrated to increase our appetite. Not only do we eat more food, but our metabolism becomes ‘groggy’.
A slower metabolism leads to slower uptake of the required proteins and vitamins that the body requires. In one study, participants who got inadequate sleep (5.5 hours) versus those who got 8.5 hours, experienced 55% less fat loss.
The number of hours you sleep will also determine what you eat. When we experience as little as one night of sleep deprivation, we experience impaired activity in our frontal lobe – which controls complex decision making. Similar to being intoxicated, we lose the ability to make sound, complex decisions.
The effect inadequate sleep has is the reduction of mental clarity. To be more biologically adept, the Amygdala which is the reward center of the brain experiences increased activity with less sleep. Less sleep means that you are unable to fight food cravings particularly for high-carb snacks.
A lack of sleep leads to us feeling hungry, eating using bigger portions and making poor choices with our diet.
Healthy Body Function
After just one week of inadequate sleep, our body’s ability to efficiently use insulin is reduced. When your body correctly processes insulin, fat cells will remove fatty acids from the blood stream and prevent their storage in other areas of the body.
Alternatively, more insulin in our blood means more fat moving around in your bloodstream. This is not good. The fat gets stored in other tissues like our liver. Less sleep also makes us more susceptible to disease.
The body’s immunity is weakened since the body is not functioning at optimal capacity. Diseases such as diabetes, cancer and hyperthyroidism can result from sleep deprivation.
Muscle & Performance
A study completed by Brazilian scientists has shown that sleep deprivation reduces your body’s ability to make muscle. In extreme cases, lack of sleep may actually lead to muscle loss.
Human growth hormone helps repair our muscles and promote growing when we are maturing. When we sleep, naturally occurring human growth hormone is released in our bodies. In fact, scientists estimate 70% of human growth hormone is released while we sleep.
What’s It All Mean?
It seems clear by the research sleep matters if you’re concerned about losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Lack of sleep makes our bodies react with various hormonal changes that can mean increased appetite and a slower metabolism. Add to that, if we’re tired, we often tend to have less resistance to sugary or fatty foods, and our bodies produce less growth hormone, meaning less muscle mass, and it’s a quadruple whammy – so to speak.
So, get the sleep you need. If we can help let us know. Our mattresses have helped a lot of people get a better night’s sleep. And that’s all right.