Sleep it off!

Sleep it off!

Did you know that losing sleep can lead to weight gain? Well sadly, it’s true; all the more reason to take control of your sleep habits. A study performed at the University of Chicago found that individuals who got less than four hours sleep a night actually had higher levels of insulin and the hormone Cortisol which have been linked to difficulties processing carbohydrates. This wasn’t the only study carried out either; there have been hundreds of them and they all reported the same results; a lack of sleep causes weight gain!

There are several ways that not getting a good night’s sleep can ruin your weight loss efforts. Sleep deprivation can effect how your body regulates appetite, causing “comfort” food cravings, leading to eating unhealthy foods that are high in carbohydrates and fat. Nearly everyone who is sleep deprived also feels fatigued, leading them to abandon exercising all together. It can also alter your basal metabolic rate, causing a slow down in the amount of calories burned even with life supporting functions like maintaining a normal body temperature and simply breathing. This can lead to even more weight gain, and can cause you to feel bloated throughout the day which will also lead to a lack of energy.

Most of us need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, however the best way to figure out if you are getting enough sleep is to pay attention to how you feel during the course of your day. If you find you’re sleepy during the afternoon or into the evening chances are you need more sleep. Also, when you wake up in the morning, do you jump out of bed ready to face the day, or do you want to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep? Once you figure out the hours of sleep you need to be at your best, make a good nights sleep a part of your healthy lifestyle plan.

Getting the right amount of sleep will not only balance your body’s hormone levels but will reduce the urge to overeat. It will keep you from getting up during the night and pigging out on the wrong kinds of food while you sit on the couch. A good night’s sleep will even leave you less hungry during the day. It is an absolute fact that if you don’t get enough sleep the lack of energy you experience will lead to overeating to maintain some level of energy during the day, and into the evening because of those extra hours you’ll be awake.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and the problem stems from something beyond personal habits, or you’re waking up repeatedly during the night, try to figure out the cause. If unavoidable noises like the dog or the sounds of traffic outside are keeping you up invest in some ear plugs. If your bedroom isn’t dark enough, buy blackout curtains or use a sleeping mask. If you find yourself needing to go to the bathroom during the night, stop drinking fluids an hour before bedtime. If your sleep problems are due to stress, or thoughts you just can’t seem to turn off, try meditation, listening to ocean sounds from your ipod to lull you to sleep or seek help from a professional.

Bottom line; if you want to lose weight you need to get a good night’s sleep. Keep this in mind the next time you think about staying up past your bed time and instead opt for sleeping it off!