Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss? by Robert D. Franklin

Can losing sleep cause you to gain excess weight? The answer: absolutely yes! Many people haven't realized the health implications of sleep deprivation. It could even hinder fat loss efforts.

How does sleep deprivation affect your weight loss efforts?

Here are just a few reasons why:

1. When you’re tired, it is so much harder to make healthy choices. This could be both psychological and physiological. When someone gets a good night’s sleep, sticking to regular exercise and healthy eating routine is a snap. But when sleep deprivation comes into play, that same person may think that chocolate and sugar will make them feel better. But, it never does! Worse than that, they could be more tired and cranky because the blood sugar highs and lows.

2. Here's where the science comes in. Several separate studies have shown a link between sleep and the hormones that influence our eating behavior. Two specific hormones are involved. Ghrelin is responsible for feelings of hunger. Leptin tells the brain when it’s time to stop. When you’re sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels increase at the same time that your leptin levels decrease. The result is an increased craving for food and not feeling full (a hormone disaster). Nothing is worse than craving food and being hungry at the same time.

3. A lot of people may not know this, but your body adjusts itself based on your circadian rhythms and the amount of sunlight outside. Without getting too deep into the science, these rhythms and light tell your body to physically recover approximately between the hours of 10pm-2am and to mentally recover approximately between 2am-6am. If you aren’t getting to bed until 12am, you are missing out on 2 crucial hours of physical repair. This can result in all sorts of aches and pains that do not get better, no matter what you try. You could even relieve backaches and hurting joints by just getting to bed by 10pm.

What actions will you take to get a good night’s sleep so you won't be sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

Check out these few tips:

1. Don’t watch TV before bed. This works wonders by reading a book, especially a good fiction book that will help you forget the day’s events.

2. Cut your caffeine intake early in the day, which includes all coffee and teas (except herbal teas).

3. Avoid sugar before bed. It could potentially wake you up in the middle of the night due to a blood sugar low.

4. Put your work away before bed. There is nothing worse than a racing mind before bed. End all work at least 2 hours before bed. If this is not possible for you, reassess your work schedule a bit.

Whatever adjustments you make, remember, sleep may just be the missing link in your nutrition, exercise and health program. Implementing these insights would take you well on your way to fat loss success.