Think you can get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep or less and still lose weight? Wrong! Getting enough sleep is vital to losing weight permanently and keeping it off. Personally, this is one area I still struggle with. Learning to balance eating healthy/less, exercise, and getting plenty of sleep along with other factors like working, shopping, errands, social commitments, family, etc can make it seem impossible to get enough rest. One would think with the whirlwind of “things to do” that need our time and attention we would simply pass out when bed time comes.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is important because sleep helps to regulate two hormones. One hormone is called ghrelin. Ghrelin tells your body when to eat. If you are sleep deprived, than you will have too much ghrelin in your system which will trigger additional hunger. The second hormone is called leptin. Leptin tells your body when to stop eating. If you are sleep deprived there is a shortage of leptin which means your body will not “tell you” to stop eating. Here’s the formula:
7.5 hrs or less of sleep + more Ghrelin/less Leptin= weight gain
7.5 hrs or more of sleep + balanced Ghrelin and Leptin = weight loss
This applies to both men and women.
Sleep also helps to regulate the metabolism. If you have a sluggish metabolism getting more sleep may help to regulate that better. Click on the links provided for more information.
What’s really important here is that all individual’s find time to get plenty of zzzzz’s. It’s crucial to weight/fat loss and balancing the two hormones that affect weight gain/reduction. For individuals who do not need to lose weight or are height/weight proportionate, sleep is just as important because you will gain weight with continued sleep deprivation.