The Importance of Quality Sleep for Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, most of us automatically think of cutting calories or hitting the gym.
But what about the relationship between sleep and weight loss?
Did you know a lack of quality sleep may have a negative impact on your weight loss efforts? In this article, we’ll look at why consistent, good-quality sleep is an important part of your weight loss and wellness efforts.
The Importance of Sleep Quality for Weight Loss
1. Lack of Sleep Affects Appetite and Food Choices
Poor sleep quality can harm your diet, appetite, and food choices.
Think about how you feel after several nights of poor sleep. Are you motivated to hit the gym? Or would you rather relax, watch some tv, and snack?
Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling low on energy and motivation, making it difficult to exercise and make healthy food choices. Chronic lack of sleep disrupts the delicate balance between hormones in the body related to satiety signalling and appetite.
Science supports the link between sleep and weight loss:
- In one study, participants who slept less than 6 hours had an increased risk of weight gain compared to participants who slept 7 hours or more.
- This meta-analysis discovered that short sleepers ate 250 more calories per day than individuals who were considered normal sleepers. Individuals who slept under 5 hours a night for at least four nights had an increase in ghrelin, a hormone that drives appetite.
- A study published in Jama Internal Medicine discovered that overweight adults who added an extra hour of sleep each night experienced a reduction in daily calorie intake. Adding an extra hour of sleep translated to almost 300 fewer calories consumed per day. Over time, this reduction can add up to significant weight loss.
2. Increased Sleep Quality Is Related to an Increased Metabolic Rate
Sleep more, burn more calories?
Science says it is possible that quality sleep can support weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate. Alternatively, sleep deprivation is linked to a slower metabolism and weight gain.
After just 4 days of a lack of sleep, your body’s ability to process insulin decreases. Insulin is an extremely important hormone that helps the body absorb glucose out of the bloodstream to use it as energy.
When the body becomes insulin resistant, it isn’t as efficient in using glucose as fuel. This means excess glucose in the blood can end up getting stored as belly fat.
Related Reading: How to Boost Your Metabolism Quickly and Naturally
3. How Sleep Affects Appetite
A lack of sleep harms hunger hormones, including ghrelin and leptin. These hormones are responsible for appetite, hunger, and satiety. When these hormones are out of whack, you may end up eating more and opting for more carb-heavy foods.
Lack of sleep also decreases self-control, meaning you are more likely to reach for junk food or high-calorie snacks.
Here are some of the ways sleep affects appetite:
- Too little sleep can set you up to make poor or unhealthy food choices
- Lack of sleep reduces activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, an area related to impulse control and decision making
- Lack of sleep affects the hypothalamus, the region in the brain related to energy expenditure and appetite regulation
- Being overtired is linked to an increase in activity in the brain’s reward centre, meaning you’ll be more likely to reach for comfort foods that make you feel good
- Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in late-night snacking
Too little sleep is linked to consuming bigger portions of food
Tips on How to Improve Sleep
It is generally recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Here are tips on how to improve sleep quality:
- Follow a Consistent Sleep Schedule — Set a time to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and try to stick to this schedule. Having a consistent sleep routine can help support your body’s circadian rhythm so you sleep deeper.
- Practice Healthy Light Habits During the Day — In the morning, take a short walk to expose yourself to natural light for at least 10 minutes. This natural light exposure helps reset your circadian rhythm so that you’ll feel tired at bedtime.
- Keep It Dark at Night — At least two hours before bed, keep the lights dim, turn off electronics, and avoid watching tv to get sleepy. Darkness signals the body to release melatonin, an important sleep hormone. Light exposure too close to bedtime suppresses melatonin. Blackout curtains are another good addition to the bedroom if you are trying to get more sleep.
- Make the Bedroom a “Sleep-Only” Zone — Keep the bedroom for sex and sleep only and avoid using it for entertainment or work.
- Create a Bedtime Routine — What do you find most relaxing? A hot bath? Journaling? Reading? Find activities that help you wind down before bedtime and make them part of your nightly routine.
- Steer Clear of Sleep Disruptors — Avoid foods or drinks that can harm sleep quality. These include spicy foods, alcohol, and heavy meals. Avoid consuming any caffeine within 5 to 6 hours of bedtime. Ideally, avoid snacking at all after supper.
- Exercise During the Day — Regular physical activity can support healthy sleep quality. However, intense exercise too close to bedtime may contribute to decreased sleep quality.
- Keep It Cool — Keeping the temperature cooler in your bedroom can help support quality sleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) as the best temperature for sleeping.
- Talk With Your Doctor — If you are struggling with insomnia, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can make sure you do not have an underlying health condition that is preventing you from getting a good night of sleep.
Final Thoughts on the Connection Between Sleep and Weight Loss
While further research is needed, quality sleep is believed to play an integral role in weight loss. Without enough sleep, your body’s hormones, ability to burn fat, and decision-making can all be affected negatively and lead to weight gain.
By improving your sleep habits and making sure to get consistent, quality sleep, you can support your weight loss and wellness efforts. For more weight loss tips, fat loss, wellness, and diet tips, check out our blog or contact us for personalised product recommendations. Our team is here to support you on your wellness journey and is always happy to answer your questions.