Sufficient Sleep: Your Game Changer for Weight Loss.
Is there a link between sleep and weight loss? Definitely! Sleep medicine physicians say that weight loss, maintenance, and metabolic health are all part of the equation and often underestimated; the power of sleep is necessary for weight loss, besides eating less and moving more.
How do you generally wake up? Are you refreshed, energised, and excited to start your day, or grumpy cursing at the alarm clock and wishing you could sleep for another hour or two? If you answered the latter and try to shed some kilos, you probably need to spend more hours in bed than following a fad diet. Here’s how it works:
A sleepy brain
Skimping on Zzzs will make your brain sleepy, often resulting in bad decisions. The brain’s frontal lobe, where decision-making and impulse control lies, becomes dull, almost like being a bit drunk. Overtiredness revs up the brain’s reward centres, looking for something that feels good. This is where food cravings usually start.
Sleep and metabolism
Much like nutrition, people need different dosages. Some need 9 hours of sleep each night, whereas others only need 7 hours. Less than that triggers a cortisol spike, a stress hormone that signals your body to conserve energy to fuel when you’re awake.
Cutting back on sleep may leave you hungrier and less satisfied after meals, zapping your energy. Did you know that your body’s insulin goes awry after 4 days of insufficient sleep? Insulin is a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy.
This is particularly bad because when your body doesn’t respond appropriately to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.
The point: Too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.
6 Ways to improve your beauty sleep
- Regular schedule: Keep to your brain’s internal 24-hour clock called your circadian rhythm. Create a bedtime routine by going to bed at the same time every night after switching off all screens an hour before. Relax with a cup of chamomile tea, listen to soothing music, read, or meditate if you can’t fall asleep immediately.
- Comfortable bedroom: Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and calm with comfortable bedding and pillows. This is not a luxury, but a must! Purchase new ones if you don’t feel comfy enough.
- Leave the caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant with a 6-hour half-life. Meaning it takes 6 hours for your body to eliminate half of the caffeine you consume. Switch to decaf or water at noon instead.
- Ditch the nightcap: Alcohol is a depressant that disrupts your nervous system and might cause you to sleep later at night. If a cocktail or glass of beer will help you relax and sleep, do so in moderation (1 drink for women & 2 drinks for men) early in the evening. But try to steer away from it.
- Early, light dinner: It’s better to eat less at dinner and finish eating at least 2 to 3 hours before bed, as prolonged digestion can interfere with your sleep.
- Light snack: A little popcorn or a piece of fruit before bed is fine. Carbohydrate-rich snacks trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can improve sleep.
- Exercise: Regular exercise will help you maintain weight and reduce stress, especially 20 to 30 minutes daily. It will also improve your well-being and help you get a great night of rest. Have you seen our range of home gym equipment yet?
- Let it go: Find ways to shut off your busy mind, such as journaling, relaxation exercises, learning to meditate, starting an evening gratitude practice, or focusing on positive thoughts.
Making the changes above will help you lose weight, eat more mindfully, and stick to a healthy diet. You’ll also improve your productivity and overall health, mood, and wellbeing. We hope you sleep like a log!