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How Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

How Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

October 02, 2018

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If you're trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get may be just as, if not more important than diet and exercise. So if you can't get yourself to the gym the next best thing is to get to rest! Here are seven reasons why getting enough sleep can help you lose weight.  

1. Poor Sleep Is a Major Risk Factor for Weight Gain and Obesity

Poor sleep has repeatedly been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain. People's sleep requirements vary, but, generally speaking, research has observed changes in weight when people get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. 

2. Poor Sleep Can Increase Your Appetite

Many studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived report having an increased appetite. This is likely caused by the impact of sleep on two important hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Shut the fridge and instead get some shut eye! 

3. Sleep Helps You Fight Cravings and Make Healthy Choices

Lack of sleep actually alters the way your brain works. This may make it harder to make healthy choices and resist tempting foods. Sleep deprivation will actually dull activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is in charge of decision-making and self-control.

4. Poor Sleep Can Increase Your Calorie Intake

People who get poor sleep tend to consume more calories. A study of 12 men found that when participants were allowed only four hours of sleep, they ate an average of 559 more calories the following day, compared to when they were allowed eight hours. As the calories may come from poor choices (mentioned above), it may also simply be from an increase in the time spent awake and available to eat. This is especially true when the time awake is spent being inactive, like watching Netflix or falling into the timeless vortex of Instagram stalking. 

5. Poor Sleep May Decrease Your Resting Metabolism

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories your body burns when you're completely at rest. It's affected by age, weight, height, sex and muscle mass. Research indicates that sleep deprivation may lower your RMR. In one study, 15 men were kept awake for 24 hours. Afterward, their RMR was 5% lower than after a normal night's rest, and their metabolic rate after eating was 20% lower

6. Sleep Can Enhance Physical Activity

A lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue, making you less likely and less motivated to exercise. In addition, you're more likely to get tired earlier during physical activity.

7. It Helps Prevent Insulin Resistance

Poor sleep can cause cells to become insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone that moves sugar from the bloodstream into your body's cells to be used as energy. When cells become insulin resistant, more sugar remains in the bloodstream and the body produces more insulin to compensate. The excess insulin makes you hungrier and tells the body to store more calories as fat. Insulin resistance is a precursor for both type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

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