SLEEP AND WEIGHT LOSS ARE LINKED AS MEDICAL EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT SLEEPING MORE CAN BE AN IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Sleep and weight loss
Sleep and weight loss are intrinsically linked. Do you want to lose weight? Then go to sleep! In what has to be a wakeup call for all of you who are slogging it out at the gym, maintaining diets, or popping diet pills, recent medical studies have found that sleeping well is also of essence in any weight loss plan. Researchers and doctors at a few dozen universities in the US and UK have conducted studies linking sleep and weight loss. It is common knowledge that many hormones are affected by sleep patterns. Research has shifted to two such hormones – leptin and ghrelin – and the roles they play in the link between sleep and weight loss.
Leptin and Ghrelin
Leptin and ghrelin are together called the “hunger hormones”. They work in tandem to regulate the feelings of being hungry and being full. Ghrelin is produced in the stomach, and it is an appetite stimulator, that is, it sends signals to the brain which tell you that you are hungry. On the other hand, leptin, which is produced by fat cells, is an appetite suppressor. It gives a feeling of fullness and hence, forces you to stop eating. People who are thin have lower levels of leptin than people who are overweight.
Relationship between sleep and weight loss
Researchers have found that sleep deprivation causes lower amounts of leptin and higher amounts of ghrelin to be released by the body. This means that you feel hungrier but you don’t get that feeling of fullness you are accustomed to after eating. This can result in unknowingly eating more and subsequently, weight gain. Studies among volunteers have revealed that people who were sleep deprived consumed 300 – 500 calories more than those who had healthy sleep patterns, thus establishing a link between sleep and weight loss. The following guidelines should give you some insight in to the importance of a good night’s sleep.
• Sleep for 7-8 hours every day. Don’t skimp on the number of hours, else you’ll just spend the next day tired, fatigued and craving more time in bed. And probably having hunger pangs too!
• Rest and recovery is essential after exercise to allow those sore muscles to heal. Sleeping is the fastest way to recuperate. A good night’s sleep lets you wake up fresh and healthy; ready for another round at weight loss.
• Stress is one of the major causes of gaining weight. Sleeping well can help combat that.
• A good night’s rest gives you energy to tackle the day. That includes exercise and the perseverance needed to stick to your weight loss plans.
Sleep and weight loss are two sides of the same coin. Sleep is essential for weight loss. So, go ahead and sleep for a full complement of 8 hours. Get the energy you need to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.