Sleep has been one of the biggest game changers in my weight loss journey. Before I tried losing weight, I did not prioritize my sleep whatsoever. I drank coffee all throughout the day and struggled to get to sleep every night. I also had to wake up extra early due to a 45 minute commute. I was always mentally and physically exhausted. When I started to prioritize my health, I cut down my caffeine intake and slowly got my sleep schedule back on track. Without this change, I know I wouldn’t have been able to lose weight. Why exactly is sleep so vital to weight loss?
Sleep Deprivation, Overeating and Fat Loss
One hypothesis about why sleep helps us lose weight is that a lack of sleep may disrupt ghrelin and leptin—two hormones that help regulate hunger. Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase ghrelin levels, decrease leptin levels and increase hunger levels. Some studies have even shown that sleep loss also leads to an increase in consumption of high calorie foods—such as carbohydrates. Another study analyzed the metabolic hormone concentrations of two groups of adults on a calorie restricted diet with one group sleeping at 8 hours and the other at 5.5 hours a night. It was proven that weight loss was about 55% lower in the sleep deprived group and their hormone markers indicated increased hunger and a lessened response to caloric restriction. Sleep deprivation can lead to metabolic dysregulation, oxidative stress, glucose intolerance, and disruptions in circadian rhythms. Clearly, getting a good night’s rest is critical in helping control appetite and in turn losing weight.
What You Can Do To Improve Your Sleep
Because sleep is so critical to your weight loss, you need to make steps to get into a better sleep routine. I still struggle on with sleep from time to time, but I have learned some health behaviors that promote good sleep hygiene, weight loss, and overall health. I am very sensitive to caffeine and I now limit my coffee intake to 1-2 cups in the morning before 10am and only drink 1 cup of decaffeinated coffee in the evening if I crave an afternoon cup. I also exercise for 30-60 minutes a day to get myself physically tired by bedtime. I like to listen to podcasts at night with presenters that have very soothing voices. I also changed the settings on my phone to mute notifications at night. More recently, I’ve started to limit my alcohol intake in order to improve the quality of my sleep.
You can also make tweaks to your daily routine to improve your sleep. Bedtime rituals, such as yoga or mediation, can help you wind down after a long day. Controlling the temperature in your room can also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Keeping your room dark or dimly lit two hours before bedtime and exposing yourself to light an hour after waking up can improve your circadian rhythm. If you like to nap, try to limit your nap to 30 minutes so you can keep your sleep schedule consistent. Experiment with some of these suggestions to see which make the biggest impact on your sleep. With some time and patience, you’ll figure out what works for you and how best to reach your optimum sleep routine.
Please like, comment and share with people you care about.
Remember, always be kind to yourself and keep moving forward.