You’ve been working at shedding that last five pounds for months, and nothing seems to work. You cut back on the amount of calories you eat, work out twice a day, and say no to every sweet temptation that has passed your way. So why do those extra pounds keep such a firm grip on your hips? It could be your unwillingness to hit the hay.
That’s right. According to legit medical research, spending an ample amount of time getting shuteye is essential to helping your body get rid of those unwanted pounds. Wondering how it works? Prepare to be amazed.
Inside your body are all kinds of hormones that are responsible for doing all sorts of things. Two of these hormones, leptin and ghrelin*, have a stronghold on your appetite. In other words, if these two hormones decide to make you feel hungry, you’re going to feel hungry. They work by causing you to feel hungry (ghrelin) and informing your brain that you’ve had enough to eat (leptin).
While these hormones function quite well most of the time, a lack of sleep can result in your leptin levels to plummet and your ghrelin levels to rise. As a result, you feel hungry more than you ought and your brain never has a clue that you’ve had enough to eat. When this happens, you can only imagine the damage that can be done to all the hard work you’ve put into looking your best.
Put It to Bed
Now that you’re ready to power up your sleep for an easier time with weight loss, you may be wondering how to get better sleep. The first step is to give yourself enough time to sleep. You may be able to function on four or five hours of sleep each night, but most people require more. On average, shoot for eight hours, give or take an hour. It may mean giving up your late night dancing ways or beginning your workout a bit later in the morning, but getting your body’s hormones regulated will pay off.
In the event you’re already spending plenty of time in bed at night without feeling rested in the morning, you may be living with a sleep disorder. From sleep apnea (pauses in breathing as you sleep) to restless legs syndrome (irresistible urges to move your legs when you rest) to narcolepsy (constant sleepiness), sleep disorders disrupt your bedtime routine and your entire day from the moment you wake up. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can find the relief you need from your condition and beginning sleeping better and losing weight with greater ease.
*Sleep loss also changes the amount of another hormone (cortisol) produced by your body. Like the combination of leptin and ghrelin, cortisol is also directly responsible for regulating whether you feel hungry or full.
The Other Way Around
Getting plenty of good sleep is essential to your ability to obtain and maintain a healthy weight. At the same time, losing weight is a good way to improve your ability to sleep well.
Why? For a number of reasons.
First, overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing for prolonged periods, as he or she sleeps. In many cases, losing weight actually results in the individual being cured of sleep apnea.
Another reason weight loss helps you sleep is because of the frequent link between being overweight and suffering back pain. While back pain is bothersome during the day, it can be extremely bad when the sufferer lies down to sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay that way.
So whether you find yourself attempting to lose weight or get better sleep, you can’t have one without the other!