If you’re following a weight loss program, getting the right amount of exercise and eating a healthy diet are usually the two most important things that most people concentrate on when trying to shed those unwanted pounds. But did you know that getting enough sleep is just as important?
According to recent studies, sleep deprivation (lack of good, consistent sleep) not only causes fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and clumsiness, but it’s also linked to overeating, weight gain and an increase in stress levels. While having to monitor your sleep a little more closely seems like a daunting task, the fitness boot camp in Birmingham says that it’s well worth the effort.
Here are the top three ways that sleep deprivation affects your weight management and what you can do to get more shut-eye:
Controls Your Hormones
Not getting enough sleep disrupts two hormones that can control your appetite, called leptin and ghrelin. Both of them are important because they involve stimulating and suppressing of your appetite. The hormone leptin is responsible for suppressing your appetite and is produced by the body’s fat cells, while the hormone ghrelin is released by the stomach before meals which helps to stimulate your appetite.
When you lack a good amount of sleep, the body lowers its levels of leptin and increases its levels of ghrelin, which leads to… you guessed it, an increase in appetite. It’s the same reason why you tend to snack more on the days where you didn’t get much sleep the night before.
Aim to get at least six to seven hours of solid sleep each night, so you can decrease your hungry naturally without resorting to dangerous appetite suppressant products or pills.
Tip to sleep better: Regular exercise has been shown to help people get a better, more restful sleep, but to maximize this effect try to get your workout on five to six hours before bed. This will allow your body temperature to climb back down and that will help you fall asleep faster when you’re ready for bed.
Getting a solid nights sleep helps reduce the stress hormone known as cortisol, while the opposite causes an increase. The higher your cortisol levels, the slower your metabolism operates, which makes losing weight a lot more difficult.
This stress hormone also interferes with your body’s ability to build muscles, and if your main fitness goal is to lose weight then you need to make sure you have low levels of cortisol in your blood. And sleep will help you accomplish just that.
Tip to sleep better: Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages before bedtime, and don’t eat big heavy meals three hours before you lay down to sleep. However, you can drink a cup of cherry juice, which is rich in melatonin and in some studies have helped adults with insomnia fall asleep quicker.
Doesn’t Let Your Body Heal
Sleep deprivation doesn’t let your body heal like it should. Exercising regularly and consistently is the key to losing weight and improving your overall health, but exercising tires your body out and actually causes tiny muscle injuries (that builds more muscle). Getting a full night’s rest will help your body to recover from exercising, and that is what’s going to help you get more out of your workouts.
Tip to sleep better: Shut off all light and distracting noise. You may be sensitive to both and not even know it. Use a comfy sleep mask and put on some ambient noise (or shut out noise altogether) to help you fall asleep faster.
The Birmingham boot camp wants you to remember that sleep is vitally important to weight loss. It suppresses your appetite and raises your metabolism while allowing your body to rest and recover, so it’s crucial to add a full night’s sleep to your weight management plan.