Is sleep important for weight loss? It absolutely is!
It is common knowledge that the food we eat and physical activity we do need to be altered to lose weight. Sleep, however, is an often-neglected factor. Sleep plays a key role alongside diet and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The goal for weight loss is usually to decrease body fat while retaining as much muscle mass as possible. The amount of sleep you get determines how much fat is lost, and how much muscle mass you retain.
Research has shown that the recommended sleep duration for adults is seven to nine hours a night. Sleeping less than the recommended amount is linked to having greater body fat. This is because of changes in metabolism, appetite, and food selection.
When we eat, our bodies release insulin, a hormone that helps to process the glucose in our blood. Sleep deprivation occurs when our bodies’ response to insulin is reduced. In other words, the ability to uptake glucose reduces. We may be able to recover from the occasional bad night, but in the long term, this could lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
While we may think that appetite is simply a matter of a signal from our stomachs, it is neurotransmitters that are running the show.
The neurotransmitters ghrelin and leptin are central to appetite. Ghrelin promotes hunger, and leptin contributes to feeling full. The body naturally increases and decreases these levels throughout the day, signalling the need to consume calories. Lack of sleep may affect the body’s regulation of this. This may lead to increased appetite and diminished feelings of fullness in the sleep deprived.
Establishing healthy sleep habits can help your body maintain a healthy weight. While you weren’t sleeping, your body cooked up a perfect recipe for weight gain. So, don’t skip out on getting those extra hours.