You may not realize how important sleep is for your health, but it actually affects your weight and muscle growth in many ways. In fact, if you’re struggling to lose weight, prioritize getting enough sleep over everything else!
Not only does insufficient sleep increase appetite and cravings for sugar and junk food, but it also increases the production of hormones that promote fat storage. A new study shows that getting more sleep can change those hormones and help you drop extra pounds.
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Boosts Weight Loss
While the link between poor sleep and weight gain has long been known, a new study suggests that sleeping longer can actually help people burn calories more effectively. Researchers found that overweight adults who got extra slumber time lost about 270 calories a day — and shed about a pound on average.
Getting enough sleep is essential for weight loss because it regulates the body’s hormones that govern appetite. Those hormones, including the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormone leptin, work together to keep your appetite in check so you don’t overeat.
But when you don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, you have higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, which can lead to cravings for high-calorie foods. And when you’re tired, you can’t think clearly or be as physically active as you normally would be.
These hormone changes can also cause you to overeat at the wrong times of day. For example, a small study found that people who regularly slept for less than five hours a night ate 42 percent more calories as snacks after dinner than during other meals.
The study also found that sleep deprivation messed with your body’s natural rhythm, which can trigger a surge in hunger and cravings for carb-rich food and sweets. It can also disrupt the body’s melatonin production, which can throw off your body’s 24-hour circadian clock.
In addition, short-term sleep deprivation can lead to changes in your metabolism, which affects how quickly you metabolize sugar and starches. It can increase your fasting glucose level and decrease your insulin sensitivity, which can make it more difficult to turn sugar into energy.
If you’re working on your weight loss, you’ve probably heard that you need to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and avoid risky substances like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and certain drugs. But there’s another important part of lifestyle medicine that many people overlook: sleep.
Increases Fat Loss
Sleep is a vital part of maintaining a healthy metabolism and weight. It regulates several hormonal and metabolic processes that keep your body in a state of homeostasis, or balance. In addition to regulating your appetite and feelings of hunger, sleep also plays a role in your body’s ability to store and use energy.
In fact, sleep deprivation can disrupt your entire metabolism by triggering a series of changes that lead to chronic fat gain and other health complications. Some of the most common consequences of sleep deprivation include reduced insulin sensitivity, increased levels of fat stored in the belly (specifically dangerous visceral fat), and more.
Researchers have long known that sleep deprivation triggers appetite, which in turn increases cravings for food, and can result in weight gain. Now, new research has shown that it may be possible to reverse the negative effects of sleep deprivation by increasing your total sleep duration, which can boost your calorie burning rate and help you lose weight.
A study published in the journal Sleep found that simply extending people’s average sleep time by an hour or two per night led to an average reduction of 270 calories per day. This is a substantial amount of calories that can add up over time.
For those who struggle to lose weight, this could be a huge benefit. While it has long been recognized that sleep deprivation can trigger appetite, this is the first study to show that it’s possible to change your sleep habits in order to boost your weight loss efforts.
Another potential benefit of sleep is that it can help you increase the amount of “good” fats in your body, such as those found in brown fat cells. These are responsible for boosting the metabolism of calories in the body and can help you burn more energy during exercise.
In addition, research shows that a good amount of sleep can help your body produce more melatonin, which is essential to maintaining a normal daily rhythm and can help you make more of these “good” fats. The benefits of sleep aren’t limited to weight loss, as some studies have shown that it can help prevent the development of diabetes and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Increases Muscle Loss
Sleep plays a role in many functions that are important for your overall health, including memory function and emotional regulation. In particular, the brain processes information while you sleep, converting short-term memories into long-term ones and erasing or forgetting unneeded information.
The body is also re-energized during sleep and releases growth hormones that aid muscle repair after exercise. These hormones help your muscles to grow and develop new cells, which can increase their strength and size.
Getting enough sleep is essential for weight loss and muscle growth. It’s also crucial for reducing your risk of chronic disease and improving your mental well-being.
If you don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, your body may be working overtime to break down its proteins and store extra fat. In addition, research has shown that sleep deprivation reduces testosterone levels, which is an important hormone for muscle growth and fat loss.
This is particularly problematic if you’re trying to build muscle mass or lose weight, as it could cause your body to break down muscles instead of storing them as fat. In fact, one study of a small group of people on a calorie-restricted diet found that those who got limited sleep lost more muscle than fat.
A similar study from 2011 found that when people were put on a strict schedule that allowed them to sleep only 5.5 hours per night, they had 60% less muscle mass than those who got 8.5 hours of sleep each day. This is because your body needs more time to recover from a workout and it won’t do that if you don’t get enough rest.
In addition to the negative effects on muscle growth, not getting enough sleep also affects your body’s ability to perform physical activities and exercises. It can cause you to feel tired, which can make you feel like your effort isn’t as effective and could lead you to eat more than necessary. It also affects your mental health and mood, which can impact how well you perform in the gym.
Increases Fat Storage
Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased fat storage and insulin resistance in the body. It also increases the risk of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Insufficient sleep causes your body to release hormones that increase fat storage, such as ghrelin and insulin. These hormones increase your appetite and make you want to eat more calories.
Research also indicates that sleep deprivation activates a small part of the brain, the hypothalamus, which is responsible for controlling your appetite and hunger cues. It appears that this area of the brain is involved in the control of adipocytes, or fat cells.
These adipocytes use glucose for energy, and when there is extra glucose in the bloodstream, it causes these fat cells to turn over into muscle cells and store it as glycogen or fat.
The adipocytes have an important role in regulating the metabolism of glucose, and if your adipocytes become overactive or overstimulated, it can lead to excess weight gain.
This may be due to the fact that adipocytes are sensitive to insulin, and when there is a high level of insulin in the bloodstream, all of the extra glucose is directed to be stored as fat.
Fortunately, this problem can be solved by increasing your sleep time. According to one study, a person can burn up to 1 1/2 pounds more fat every night that they spend an additional hour of sleep.
Another recent study found that when people who were overweight slept less than 6.5 hours a night, they consumed significantly more calories on average during the following day than those who slept an adequate number of hours each night. The researchers measured the energy intake and caloric expenditure of the participants, as well as the body composition, fat distribution, and circulating appetite biomarkers.
While this is only a small trial, the results are promising and could help to improve the treatment of weight loss. In the future, more studies will be needed to determine the underlying mechanisms of how a good night’s sleep can support healthy weight loss and help prevent obesity.