The Vital Benefits Of Sleep For Weight Loss
In the quest for weight loss, many people focus on diet and exercise, often overlooking a crucial factor: sleep. The relationship between sleep and weight loss is intricate and multifaceted. Sleep not only influences your physical and mental well-being but also plays a significant role in your body's ability to manage weight effectively.
So, here are a few of the benefits of sleep when it comes to weight loss:
- Metabolism Regulation: Adequate sleep helps regulate your body's metabolism. When you sleep, your body carries out various metabolic processes that are essential for energy production and maintaining a healthy weight. Poor sleep patterns can disrupt these processes, potentially leading to weight gain.
- Hormone Balance: Sleep plays a pivotal role in hormonal balance. Sleep deprivation can alter hormones related to appetite, increasing ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and reducing leptin (the hormone that signals fullness). This imbalance can lead to increased food cravings and overeating.
- Energy Stabilization: Sleep influences your energy levels by affecting how much energy you consume and how much you expend. Lack of sleep can lower your motivation to engage in physical activity, making it harder to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.
- Stress Reduction: Quality sleep contributes to stress reduction. Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone linked to weight gain, especially around the abdominal area. Adequate sleep helps keep cortisol levels in check.
All those benefits of sleep not only help support weight loss, but also overall well-being. It's important to get quality sleep each night. How much sleep a person needs to get per night depending on a few variables, like age, recent sleep quality, lifestyle, etc. On average, an adult should be getting 7 or more hours of quality sleep per night. This means sleep that is uninterrupted. Younger and older adults need approximately the same amount of quality sleep, however, older adults may need to reserve more sleep time to get the full 7 hours of quality sleep. This is because older adults tend to sleep more lightly, take longer to start sleeping, and sleep for shorter time spans than do younger adults.
Not getting the recommended amount of quality sleep per night can have serious impacts on your overall wellbeing, including weight gain. Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. It's also linked to an increase chance of injury, as it can impact your awareness levels and attention to details.
Now that you know the benefits of sleep, the amount of sleep you should get, and the repercussions if you don't, here are some tips to help you sleep better to support your weight loss efforts:
- Build A Consistent Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
- Create A Sleep-Inducing Environment: Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. We also suggest invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, especially since you spend about a third of your life sleeping.
- Limit Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light emitted by screens (phones, tablets, computers, TVs) can interfere with your sleep because it suppresses the production of melatonin, making it difficult for many people to “turn off” their brains and fall asleep. So, we recommend avoiding screens at least an hour before bedtime.
- Stop Eating Before Bed: Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. These can disrupt sleep and digestion, specifically causing gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and obesity. We recommend that you stop eating two to four hours before bedtime.
- Avoid Physical Activity Before Bed: Engaging in regular physical activity is essential for a healthy mind, body, and sleep habits, but try to finish intense workouts a few hours before bedtime. This is because intense exercises activate stress responsive systems making it challenging to fall asleep. Gentle activities like yoga can help relax your body and mind in preparation for sleep. Here are a few yoga moves to try before bed to help relax the body.
- Limit Fluid Intake Before Bed: Reduce the consumption of liquids close to bedtime to avoid waking up for bathroom trips during the night. Water doesn't necessarily have to be avoided, but University of Michigan behavioral sleep expert Dr. Deirdre Conroy suggests drinking no more than 12 ounces of water within 2 hours of bedtime, no alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime, and no coffee within 8 hours of bedtime.
- Cap Your Naps: While short naps can be refreshing, long or late-afternoon naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. You should take a nap when you're experiencing unexpected sleepiness, experience sleep loss the day before, or want to make napping a habit. The best way to nap is to keep it short (between 20 to 30 minutes), take it early in the afternoon (not after 3 PM), and take it in a calming environment (quiet room with limited distractions).
- Manage Your Stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques such as journaling, mindfulness, or soothing rituals to promote relaxation before bed will help you fall asleep faster and enhance the quality of your sleep.
- Practice Other Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching before bed to calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. Here is a really effective body scan meditation to try to help boost sleep.
With those tips in mind, it's important to reiterate that sleep is a powerful and often underestimated contributor to weight loss. By focusing on improving your sleep habits, you can enhance your body's ability to regulate hormones, manage appetite, and maintain a healthy weight. Remember, achieving weight loss and overall wellness is a holistic journey that involves a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and quality sleep. Prioritizing all these elements will set you on the path to sustainable success.
If you'd like some advice to help boost your sleep quality, and therefore, weight loss efforts, contact our Customer Service Team so they can provide you with some personalized recommendations!
Here are some more articles that relate to healthy lifestyle habits and weight loss for you to continue your learnings: