Sleep Well to Lose Weight

Sleep is good. It has many direct benefits, including brain and body restoration. It may surprise you to know that it has very tangible impact on weight loss. Here are 3 compelling reasons:

Sleep helps to reduce belly fat. Poor sleep has been proven to drive stress and anxiety, which both contribute directly to the build up of body fat. Stress and anxiety affect lipid metabolism in several ways, favoring the accumulation and preservation of fat stores. The stress hormone cortisol not only drives body fat accumulation, but it also increases appetite. Sleep deprivation diminishes the body’s sensitivity to insulin, a hormone in the blood that regulates the processing of sugar for energy. If insulin sensitivity is reduced, the body takes more fat from the blood and packs it away into our fat stores. Finally, stress and anxiety often disrupt our exercise routines. This combination of high calorie intake, low calorie burn rate and a metabolism that favors fat storage drives weight gain, especially belly fat.

Sleep helps you eat less. People who sleep less eat more. A recent study found that people deprived of sleep not only ate 300 to 500 calories per day more than when they were well rested, but they also tended to choose unhealthier foods, high in saturated fats. The balance between two opposing hormones controls our appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite. Leptin is a hormone that alerts our brain that we have eaten enough. Poor sleep increases the levels of ghrelin and reduces levels of leptin, driving excess eating. In addition to these metabolic effects, sleep deprivation leaves us susceptible to poor dietary decision-making. Research has shown that we eat bigger portions and select poor quality meals when we are tired. Our reward centers are sensitized, so we experience more food craving when our sleep quality is poor. One study showed that dieters that sleep badly lose half as much weight as those who sleep well, despite having the same calorie intake.

Sleep helps to suppress obesity genes. We know that some people have genes that predispose to obesity. The genes are not automatically active. They require specific circumstances that switch them on, driving obesity. Twin studies have shown that sleep deprivation switches on the obesity genes. Twins have identical DNA. Twins that sleep less are heavier than their well-rested siblings, suggesting that poor sleep plays a prominent role in activating the obesity gene.

Healthy sleep is a critical component of BodyWHealth. It drives mental, emotional and physical health. Poor sleep impacts the cardiovascular system and immune function, and accelerates aging. Healthy sleep helps you to prevent weight gain, and enhances weight loss. Sleep long. Sleep deeply.

Have fun,

Roddy

(Read the blogs on Healthy Sleep, Sleep Trackers, Managing Wakefulness and The Power of Dreams)

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