It seems to be common sense that the only way to lose weight is to exercise more and eat healthy foods. Sometimes though, no matter how often you hit the gym and pass up fatty snacks for fruit and vegetables, you just can’t shift that weight. This could be because your sleep patterns are sabotaging your weight loss.
What – getting more sleep will help you lose weight? Sounds too good to be true, right? Read on to find out just how it works.
Lack of Sleep Affects Your Hormones
Nearly everyone is guilty of burning the candle at both ends sometimes. You’re so busy, what with work, family and your social life, that you can’t possibly sleep. However, not getting enough sleep is not helping your weight loss plan. The reason why lies in your hormones.
Two different hormones, named ghrelin and leptin, control your hunger. Ghrelin signals to your body when you’re hungry, and leptin signals when it’s full. When we stay awake, our ghrelin production goes into overdrive, making us reach for the snacks. There’s also issues with your insulin and cortisol levels when you cut back on sleep, so it’s clear that sleep really does play an important part in your weight-loss plan.
Being Overtired Leaves You Vulnerable to Cravings
When you stay up late at night, it’s easy to give in to unhealthy treats that seem to be all you want. This is because when you’re overtired, it affects the frontal lobe of your brain. This section controls your decision-making and impulse control, so in many ways it’s a little like being drunk. Making sure you get a good night’s sleep is the key to being able to resist those junk food cravings, and keep yourself on track.
The Longer You’re Awake, the More You Snack
It sounds so obvious you’ll be surprised you never thought of it before. Because you’re staying up late, whether it’s because you’re working hard or simply catching up with your Netflix queue, you’ll certainly keep eating when you should have stopped. Going to bed at a reasonable time and following a sensible diet will stop you craving unhealthy food late at night.
Not Getting Quality Sleep
So after all this information, you’re thinking all you have to do is go to bed at the right time, and the magic will happen. There’s actually more to it than that. To ensure you don’t crave snacks in the middle of the night, and to control those hunger hormones, you need to get some serious quality sleep.
The trick is to get into a regular routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, and turn off your cell phone, TV and computer at least an hour before you hit the hay. Steer clear of caffeine after 2 p.m. as well; as it can stay in your system for up to six hours after you drink that coffee, and can keep you up late.
Now that you know why not getting enough shut-eye will sabotage your weight loss, you can start to create healthy new sleep habits that will assist you without any extra effort. After all, isn’t losing weight in your sleep everyone’s dream?