When starting out any plan involving weight loss goals, it’s fairly universal knowledge that exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, and water consumption are all at the top of the to-do list. Nonetheless, many studies have proven a good night’s rest to be an essential driving factor in losing weight and/or managing a healthy weight.
In our fast-paced society where grabbing a latte or energy drink is done with ease, many Americans run on a less sleep, more caffeine mantra. Did you know that sleep habits can be major contributors in weight fluctuation or stagnancy? Yep! In fact, the CDC says missing out on those snoozin’ hours can lead to major health issues, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and frequent mental distress.
In this article, we are going to outline some tips to get those Zz’s on track!
Here are a few tips that may aid in your weight management goals:
GET ENOUGH SLEEP!
This one may seem like a no-brainer, as sleep is pretty essential to functioning, right?
In a recent study done by the Mayo Clinic, it was noted that “Sleeping less than five hours — or more than nine hours — a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain.” While sleep needs vary during different ages and stages of life, as well as slightly from person-to-person, an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults is the recommendation for optimal health.
While we are focused primarily on adults and healthy aging practices here at Rejuvime, we were astonished to learn that “New research reveals that children who fall short by just one hour per night have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.” WOW!
KEEP YOUR SLEEP + WAKE PATTERN CONSISTENT
When it comes to sleep, quality is just as important as quantity! Not only does the amount of sleep you get play a factor in weight management, but studies have also shown that maintaining a consistent sleep-wake schedule can also be a contributor in body composition. According to a study conducted by Brigham Young University, “When sleep hygiene is altered, it can influence physical activity patterns, and affect some of the hormones related to food consumption contributing to excess body fat.” This same study concluded that “A consistent bedtime and, especially, a consistent wake time are related to lower body fat.” Looks to us like the proof is in the pudding!
While the aforementioned information may be intriguing, we know adopting new habits in adulthood is not always the easiest of tasks. Here at Rejuvime, we believe that for a habit to stick, it is always beneficial to understand the science and why behind the choices we make as individuals. Thus, we have outlined a few ways sleep has been proven to be associated with weight management:
- SLEEP AND HORMONE LEVELS: Two hormones crucial in food intake and body weight in humans are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is associated with the body’s energy levels and telling us when we are hungry–from a basic survival perspective, when our bodies require energy (food) for fuel. Ghrelin, also known as “the hunger hormone,” is the hormone responsible for telling us we are hungry. Ever feel hunger pangs or “hangry?” This is associated with low ghrelin levels. Researchers believe that adequate sleep is directly proportional to keeping these hormone levels where they function best. When these hormones are out of whack, we tend to make poor or hasty food choices, thus, contributing to weight gain.
- SLEEP AND UNHEALTHY CRAVINGS: We all know the astronomical mental strength it takes at times to choose a salad over that bowl of creamy pasta. Turns out, when we are lacking sleep, our tendency to choose carb-filled, higher calorie meals is much more likely. According to research published by Time Magazine on the results of a sleep and cravings study, participants across the board chose much healthier food options after having a full night of rest. When participants in the same study were offered food options after sleep deprivation, they chose food options that were over 600 calories higher than those they had chosen after a full night of rest.
- YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO EXERCISE WHEN YOU’RE WELL-RESTED: It makes sense that a night of poor sleep will likely leave you functioning at less than 100%. Experts claim adequate sleep levels to be directly correlational with productivity and drive towards goals, such as physical activity. When we are feeling sleep-deprived, we are often more likely to choose a sedentary activity that requires less energy output, thus, less contribution to healthy regular physical activity.
While proper sleep habits alone will not likely be responsible for significant weight loss, it is our hope that the knowledge imparted in this article may be helpful contribution to acheiving and/or maintaining healthy and happy practices with weight management.
The Mayo Clinic – Sleep Study