Want to lose weight and improve your physique? Then go to bed! That might sound like a rather conveniently easy piece of advice, but in fact it’s one of the most effective things you can do. Going to sleep will help you to lose weight in a number of ways and if you’re currently struggling to make any headway with your dieting and exercising then it may in fact be a lack of sleep that’s letting you down.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that sleep impacts on weight loss or weight gain and at how getting more of it will help you achieve the body you really want.
How Sleep Impacts on Weight Loss
Energy: There are numerous mechanisms through which sleep impacts on weight loss. For starters, if you don’t get enough sleep then you will immediately find that you lack energy the next day and that you feel groggy and demotivated. As you might expect, this is hardly conducive to getting a good workout so you can expect any exercise to suffer as a result.
Processes in the Body: When you sleep your body gets to work building muscle and burning fat, as well as repairing damaged tissue, fighting infections and cementing memories. Essentially this is like leaving your car in the shop for a tune up, only that tune up actually includes weight loss. This is controlled by a number of hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone which are at their highest when we sleep or work out. In effect, sleeping has some of the same benefits as exercise when it comes to burning fat and building muscle so it’s paramount you don’t skip it.
Meanwhile, if you’ve done a big workout recently, then there will be lots of damage in your body that needs repairing in the form of microtears in the muscles. As such, you will need to sleep in order to recover the muscles and to be able once again to train. Sleep is the best treatment for ‘DOMS’ or ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’.
Snacking: When you sleep you are in effect fasting. In other words, you’re not eating which means your blood sugar drops and your body is forced to burn fat for basic processes. Moreover, because you’re unconscious you can’t eat, and this in turn means you aren’t gaining more calories as you probably are throughout the course of the day. If you don’t sleep though, then you’re going to be consciously aware of the fact you haven’t eaten and in turn this will likely make you feel hungry. To cut a long story short, sitting up for hours in the evening means more trips to the kitchen and that increases weight gain.
Stress Levels: A lack of sleep can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is associated with weight gain as it encourages lipogenesis – the storage of sugar as fat.
So there you have it. For a whole bunch of reasons, sleep is crucial for weight loss. Get enough of it and your body will burn fat while you sleep and build muscle, then be raring to go the next day. Skip it, and you’ll snack through the night, fail to make the necessary repairs in your body, then wake up feeling groggy and unmotivated to do anything.