Is There a Connection Between Sleep and Weight Loss?

If you’re following a weight loss plan, you’re probably doing your best to eat healthy food and regularly work out. However, it’s essential to get a high-quality night’s sleep every day.

Rest is one of the most important factors for mental and physical health and plays a vital role in weight regulation. A growing body of scientific evidence is determining that, along with diet and exercise, getting enough sleep can aid in weight loss.

Sleep, Weight, and How They Relate

The average American’s body weight and obesity rates have increased steadily over the past few decades. Interestingly, Americans have been spending fewer hours in bed over pretty much the same study period. Scientific insights suggest that there is a connection between weight gain and not getting enough sleep.

  • Sleep Deprivation May Increase Your Appetite– Studies suggest that people who don’t obtain enough sleep are likely to overeat, leading to weight gain. Your well-rested body and mind should typically prompt you to eat food when your stomach is empty. However, when you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll likely be getting “hunger signals” even when you’re not hungry. You might end up overeating and adding weight when you’re sleep-deprived.
  • Lack of Sleep May Impact Food Choices– Besides increasing your appetite, sleep deprivation may have you eating more foods that promote weight gain. These can include meals and snacks high in calories and carbohydrates.
  • Prolonged Periods of Wakefulness May Cause Overeating– You may have more opportunities to grab a snack or prepare a meal if you only sleep a few hours every day. Such a habit can put you at risk for weight gain.
  • Sleep Increases Metabolism– Numerous studies have shown that lack of sleep can cause metabolic disorders associated with weight gain. For example, people with insufficient sleep might experience glucose clearance, insulin resistance, or oxidative stress problems, causing them to add weight. These disorders may also result from circadian misalignment or interference with your sleep cycle.
  • Lack of Sleep May Impact Your Daily Fitness Plan– Sleep deprivation can lead to metabolic grogginess—waking up with less energy to exercise for weight loss and your overall health.

Adolescents vs. Adults

Studies have shown that children and adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become obese. While the exact reason for this isn’t apparent yet, there are plausible explanations. Typically, insufficient sleep may cause kids to skip breakfast and eat unhealthy foods more often. It can also cause metabolic irregularities that lead to fat buildup in their bodies.

The correlation between sleep deprivation and obesity in adults is a bit more complicated and is still debated today. While scientists have not yet agreed on what causes the other, a large body of research indicates that adults getting less than six hours of sleep per day are more likely to be obese.

Obesity could be why some of the patients in these past studies had sleep apnea, depression, or other disorders contributing to their poor sleep. Still, the reverse may also be true; insufficient sleep may be causing victims to overeat, consume more unhealthy foods, or experience metabolic malfunctions that cause weight gain and obesity.

Generally, having a good night’s sleep every day tends to benefit adult obese patients, according to research.

Practical Tips For Getting Longer, Deeper Sleep

It is recommended that adults sleep seven to nine hours a day. Here are five ways you can optimize your sleep duration and quality to avoid weight gain:

  1. Make Comfort and Relaxation a Priority– Eliminate stress, such as by practicing yoga meditation. Also, silence phones and televisions in your sleep environment an hour or more before you jump to bed at night.
  2. Increase Bright Light Exposure During the Day– Be it in the workplace or at home, bright light can help reduce your stress levels and improve your nighttime sleep quality.
  3. Eliminate Caffeine Late in the Day– You probably wouldn’t like a stimulant keeping you alert when you need to be falling asleep.
  4. Reduce Unproductive Daytime Naps– Anything longer than 30 minutes of daytime sleep may interfere with your regular sleep cycle.
  5. Try a New Mattress– A premium mattress with air foam technology can help you achieve better sleep and help ensure that you won’t suffer adverse effects on your weight from lack of sleep.

Sleep Better and Exercise to Check Weight

There’s no doubt that a good diet plan and regular exercise can help with weight management. Securing a good night’s sleep is also a crucial part of keeping your body weight in check. To get maximum health benefits, try incorporating all three in your everyday routine.

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