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The Simple Way to Reach Your Fitness Goals

You’ve probably read weight loss articles before and are already expecting the same advice as always… eat less, move more, drink more water, eat more vegetables. But there’s an important component of weight loss that is often overlooked – sleep!

With demands and responsibilities that keep us up too late and wake us up too early, most of us have lost out on good quality sleep. An increasing amount of research suggests that this habit of skimping on sleep can lead to weight gain. However, research also suggests that the opposite may be true: the more high-quality sleep you get, the more likely you are to be successful in your weight loss attempts.

Like any good weight-loss strategy, sleep is not a magic or quick fix. Still, consistently logging high-quality sleep could be the key to succeeding in your weight loss goals. Read on to learn 5 reasons sleep is crucial to any weight loss plan.

Sleep is vital for your health

1. Sleep May Lead to an Increased Calorie Burn

During sleep, you actually burn around 50 to 100 calories per hour. Experts are finding out that adequate sleep helps support a healthy metabolism. Alternatively, too little sleep can throw the metabolism out of whack. Keeping your metabolism running smoothly is a great way to put your body to work for you.

2. It Can Decrease Your Cravings for Junk Food

Healthy And Happy BodyOrdering a salad instead of chips and a pizza takes a great deal of willpower. Research shows that the amount of sleep you’ve logged can affect your resolve. Studies have shown that individuals who clocked a solid night of sleep often preferred healthier foods. Those who logged less sleep gravitated toward higher calorie foods.

And be careful not to convince yourself that 5 or 6 hours is enough sleep. Missing just a few hours of sleep a night for several nights in a row can have negative impacts on your weight loss attempts and health. With consistent, healthy amounts of sleep, there is a good chance you will naturally gravitate toward healthier foods.

3. It Can Help You Feel More Satisfied

Getting a night of high-quality sleep not only helps fight off cravings, but it can also keep your hunger in check. Researchers believe that adequate sleep helps keep a number of key hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, in line. Leptin is responsible for feeling full, while ghrelin is an appetite-inducing hormone. It is obviously to your benefit to keep these hormones happy and functioning properly.

4. It Increases Your Chances of Sticking to Your Diet

Healthy ExerciseA 2012 study performed by Charles Elder at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, followed 474 obese adults as they followed a weight-loss routine. The study measured various factors such as depression, stress, and sleep. Elder found that individuals who were sleeping six to eight hours each night did better in the program than those who slept six or fewer hours per night. Participants who were clocking six to eight hours of sleep per night who also had low stress were twice as likely to succeed in the program.

In addition to Elder’s study, a 2014 study followed overweight women between the ages of 25 and 65 during a seven-month weight-loss program. The woman who reported broken, low-quality sleep (waking up five or more times per night) lost less weight than women who logged higher quality sleep.

5. You Are More Likely to Exercise

Young Couple RunningEating healthy and exercising regularly takes a lot of energy. This makes sleep a crucial aspect of weight loss. Without adequate energy, you diminish your chances of sticking to an exercise program or healthy diet. Individuals who often feel sleepy opt for sedentary activities like watching a movie instead of choosing to get out for a hike or workout.

Enjoy a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is a free, enjoyable, simple way to boost your chance of success. While simply sleeping more probably won’t cause the number on your scale to plummet, it’s important to approach weight loss with as many tools on your side as possible.