Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sleep More Weigh Less

Lack of sleep inhibits weight loss and can be linked directly to weight gain.

Most American adults get only 7 hours or less of sleep at night which is considered sleep deprived. The current recommendation for optimal functioning is 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep.

There are several reasons why sleep deprivation can be linked to obesity and weight gain.

1. Metabolism is slowed-
When a person is sleep deprived their metabolism tends to slow down. Although they are awake extra hours and should be burning more calories the time awake later is usually spent doing sedentary activities like watching TV, social media or surfing the Internet. Some studies suggest that they burn an additional 50 calories an hour from what they would burn while asleep but this is easily overridden by what they consume at those times.

2. Increase in hunger hormone and decrease in full hormone- Several studies have shown that when a person is sleep deprived there is a significant increase in the hunger hormone ghelin. At the same time participants also showed a decrease of the full hormone leptin which is responsible for telling the body when to stop eating. The off balance of these two hormones makes an awake, tired person feel hungry and slow to feel full after or while eating.

3. Poor decision making- 
People who are sleep deprived tend to reach for sugary foods that lack in nutrition. I know for myself that I make poor decisions when I am sleep deprived. One study showed that participants made much worse decisions not only about food but also about finances when they were tired.

4. Less fat oxidation- In one study two groups were put on an identical calorie restricted diet and exercise regimen. The only difference was that one group was restricted on their sleep. Although both groups lost weight the group that was sleep deprived lost lean mass (mostly muscle) and very little fat while it was the opposite for the group that got more sleep. Consequently, those that sleep more burn more fat. In another study cutting back on sleep reduced weight loss by 55%!

My personal recommendation, and this is a tough one for some, is to go to bed before 10:00 pm. Before you click the exit button hear me out. Consider what you are doing after 10 and whether it is worth your health. For me it was facebook and wandering around looking for goodies. It might take a few nights to actually fall asleep at that time but give it a good try for at least two weeks and see what it does for your hunger levels through out the day and the way you feel.

Get 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep at night
Go to bed before 10

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Sal-my-gal said...

This is good stuff. I know for me, I can trace my downfall in my weight loss and fitness journey to sleep deprivation.

seesuerun said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, you could sleep twice a day so that you are productive after 10 like Steve Pavolena

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