How often do you choose Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, over going to sleep on time? You always hear that the secret to losing weight is simply diet and exercise. It’s time to change that to a healthy diet, exercise, AND quality sleep!
What does sleep have to do with your weight and can sleep really lead to weight loss? The amount and quality of sleep, in fact, have an impact on your weight!
Why is sleep important for weight loss?
Poor sleep quality not only causes hormone imbalance but it can increase hunger and cravings for high-calorie foods! So how will sleep lead to weight loss?
Sleep is a time for your mind and body to recover and restore itself so that when you wake up, they are ready to function again. If you are getting poor sleep, you could be facing an uphill battle if you want to lose weight.
Poor sleep causes hormonal imbalance in your body and can lead to intense hunger and cravings for high-calorie foods (1).
Sleep plays such a vital part in our overall health yet it is continuously being undervalued and ignored.
How Does Sleep Effect Your Metabolism?
When you are not getting the sleep your body needs, it cannot produce and regulate hormones normally. When these hormones (cortisol, leptin, ghrelin) become unbalanced, they directly impact your appetite and metabolism (2).
When your body tired to function on low sleep, you are more likely to feel very hungry and have intense cravings for sweet and salty food that is high in calories. Poor sleep can cause you to feel hungrier and crave junk food which leads to you consuming more calories (3). Here are a few ways this can play out.
Firstly, sleep deprecation can lead to changes in insourcing glucose metabolism that can cause your body to store the calories you consume (4). Rather than using these calories for energy, your body will store them as fat.
Poor sleep patterns put stress on your body. This leads to your body producing more cortisol (stress hormone). In turn, you will feel a burst of strong hunger and an increase in your appetite (5).
Sleep Burns Calories!
Research has shown that a body that is deprived of sleep tends to burn calories less efficiently.
DID YOU KNOW? The body burns more calories during R.E.M. Sleep than any other stage of sleep? (6)
As your sleep, you will go into the REM stage of sleep more often and for more extended periods. Throughout the night, you will cycle through the sleep stages over and over.
When you end your rest earlier in the sleep cycles, you are cutting short the amount of time your body spends in the R.E.M. Stage, the prime calorie burning time!
How to sleep better and burn more calories while you sleep:
- Eat smaller meals for dinner and don’t snack late at night.
- If you are a social drinker, stop drinking alcohol at least three hours before you go to bed.
- Workout daily but not too close to bedtime, try not to exercise within three to four hours of going to sleep.
- Take a break from screens, limit the amount of time in front of your phone, tablet, laptop, and TV before bed.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees
- Take a hot shower 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime
- Sleep in total darkness
Are your hormones sabotaging your sleep patterns?
How sleep and hormones interact with our weight is even more complicated for women because of our monthly hormonal changes. A poll conducted by the National keep Foundation found that 70% of women reported that they experienced discarded sleep during menstruation. This is due to changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone which both have functions that are deeply related to sleep and weight loss (8).
Estrogen: Estrogen is a hormone that increased R.E.M. Sleep. While it can help improve R.E.M. Sleep, it can also lead to feelings of overstimulation which can make falling asleep difficult.
Proestrogen: This hormone can cause feelings of drowsiness. It can make you feel sluggish and fatigued. It also can increase your appetite.
The rise and fall of these two hormones can directly affect our sleep patterned, appetite, and energy levels throughout the different phases of our monthly cycles (9).
How to measure your sleep quality
The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. While getting enough sleep is important, its even more important that the sleep you are getting is quality sleep. Poor sleep quality can result in you feeling tired even if you did get plenty of hours that night.
Repeadity waking up during the night, snoring, or sleep disorders (gasping for air, sleep apnea, restless legs) could be causing sleep disturbances and a poor quality of sleep.
Many fitness trackers have sleep tracking features. The best fitness tracker for sleep analysis is Biostrap. With the Biostrap Sleep Lab, you can gain detailed analysis to help you understand your sleep patterns, measure your quality of sleep, and identify possible sleep disorders like restless legs.
With Biostrap Sleep Lab you can view your total amount of sleep, time spent in deep sleep, and sleep efficiency. It features advanced measurements like Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Respiratory Rate, Leg, and Arm Movements.
Check out my full Biostrap review to see how this wearable can help you improve your sleep!