If diet and exercise are essential parameters of any weight loss strategy, sleep regulation seems to be an equally important factor. Unfortunately, many people do not get enough sleep. According to a recent study, about 30% of adults sleep less than six hours a night. Rest is an essential part of the day and must be adequate in quantity and quality because it influences our health. The effects of lack of sleep can be harmful and lead to dysfunctions in our body and organism, such as weight gain.
Here are five reasons why insufficient or inadequate quality sleep can contribute to weight gain:
An Increased Feeling of Hunger
Lack of sleep can interfere with the normal rhythm of hunger hormones. When we lose hours of sleep, the level of ghrelin (the hormone that signals us that we are hungry) increases, and the level of leptin (the hormone that signals us that we are full) decreases, increasing the feeling of hunger. However, we should not let ourselves be guided by this temptation but reintroduce a few hours of sleep to our night and eliminate this fatigue.
A Greater Tendency to Choose Inappropriate Foods
Lack of sleep changes the way your brain works. It can make it harder to make healthy choices and resist tempting foods. Sleep deprivation will even slow down the activity of the frontal lobe of the brain that is responsible for decision-making and self-control. Also, it appears that the brain’s reward centers are more stimulated by foods that are high in calories, carbohydrates, and fats during sleep deprivation. However, an increase in these types of foods in our meals can lead over time to a risk of overweight or even obesity. A person who wants to lose weight will think directly about dieting, whereas a sleep diet with the simple fact of sleeping a little more and a bit better will suffice.
A Higher Caloric Intake
When we are deprived of sleep, we eat more. Some research shows that when we lose a few hours of sleep in a night, we tend to consume up to 500 more calories per meal. This increase in calories may be due to a greater sense of hunger and poor food choices, as mentioned above. However, it may also only be due to an increase in the amount of time we spend awake and available to eat. Some sleep deprivation studies have shown that a large portion of the excess calories is consumed as a snack after dinner. All of these dysfunctions can, therefore, lead to a tendency to bulimia and the desire to continually eat sweet or high-calorie foods at any time of the day and even at night.
A Slowing Down of The Primary Metabolism
Metabolism is the number of calories the body burns when at rest. It is influenced by age, weight, height, sex, and muscle mass. Researchers have proven through data that lack of sleep can lower the basal metabolic rate. It also appears that poor sleep can lead to muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so when muscle mass decreases, the basal metabolic rate is slowed when sleep is poor.
A Decrease in Physical Activity
Not only do you eat more when you lose sleep, but your physical activity may also suffer considerably. We all know that a lack of physical activity is the source of many diseases and excess weight. People who are deprived of sleep, even for just a few nights, are more tired and therefore exercise less, opt for lighter activities, and therefore burn fewer calories than those who get a good night’s sleep. A person with short nights during the week will feel their body weaken and have less energy. Therefore, they will have less motivation to practice a sports activity during the day and feel weaker. This lack of life will make you want to go to bed later and sleep less because your body has not spent enough life. This leads to a real vicious circle.
How Good Sleep Makes You Lose Weight
At night, our body is designed not to eat as we sleep. As a result, this is when our body produces large amounts of growth hormone, a hormone that helps with nerve and muscle recovery and instructs our body to use fat for energy. Therefore, good quality and long enough sleep are also synonymous with a longer production of growth hormone, which helps burn fat well and lose weight.
This mechanism also explains why it is useless for athletes to gorge themselves on protein just before going to bed or, worse, during the night.
Improve Sleep by Dieting
The problem is that during a diet, especially if it has been followed for a long time or very restrictive, its quality and length decreases. To counteract this phenomenon, we can :
Take a complete multivitamin supplement to limit the appearance of deficits that disrupt sleep (zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, etc.).
To supplement in more with magnesium, in particular in the evening.
Take a soothing herbal tea or plants that affect sleep: valerian, passionflower, verbena, lavender, etc.
Adopt an Excellent Lifestyle
To avoid gaining weight, you have to sleep well! Make sure you respect your sleep needs every day. It is essential to know that it only takes two short nights to upset the body. At the same time, eat a balanced diet and move around every day. In fatigue times, we rely on fruits and vegetables and moderate-intensity activities such as swimming or yoga.
Finally, in addition to keeping your figure in shape, sleeping well allows for optimal cell renewal. Thus you boost your youth capital and display a fresh complexion every day that breathes health!
How to Improve Your Sleep Naturally?
Some straightforward advice can help to improve sleep altered by the environment and living conditions:
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, sodas, sugary drinks
- Avoid practicing sports and all very stimulating activities from 6 to 7 p.m.
- Promote relaxing activities in the evening: reading, music, stretching.
- Avoid heavy meals in the evening and alcohol at dinnertime.
- Respecting your sleep rhythm
- Reserving the room for sleep and sexual activity by avoiding watching TV in bed, working, or eating in bed
- Take a lukewarm bath at least 2 hours before bedtime to help relax and increase sleep depth.
- Only go to bed when you feel sleep signals (yawning, stout neck, stinging eyes).
- Follow your body’s waking signals: if you can’t sleep or have been awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something else.
- If you’re awake in the morning, don’t try to get more sleep at all costs, but instead, get up and start your day.
- Avoiding screens at least 1 hour before going to bed is a simple measure that effectively reduces insomnia. The influence of blue light from the television, computer, tablet, or telephone screens is significant on the biological clock. The light acts as a stimulant that puts the brain in a state of alert and prevents sleep.