Did you know that sleep is the last thing people think about when it comes to losing weight and looking good?
In fact most people focus on nutrition (lean protein and veggies) and exercise (weights and cardio) and good sleep is rarely given in thought.
What most do not realize is that if they do not put more emphasis on sleeping right (quality and quantity) that all their good intentions can become counterproductive without them even knowing it.
I get it! People are busy and live hectic lives but by prioritizing sleep you can achieve so much more. It’s like giving energy to the other disciplines so they can work that much more efficiently. It should be a priority because it complements your diet and fitness efforts. According to the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is nearly identical, it is easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence.
Poor Sleep Changes Your Fat Cells
Think about the last time you had a bad night of sleep. How did you feel when you woke up? You may have felt exhausted, dazed, confused or at the least very grumpy. What you may not know is that it’s not just your brain and body that feel that way, but that your fat cells do too.
When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “Metabolic Grogginess.” This term was coined by University of Chicago researchers who analyzed what happened after just four days of poor sleep. This is very common and often happens during a busy week. One late night at work leads to two late nights at home and then before you realize it you are behind on your sleep (also known as ‘Sleep Debt’). This is bad because it throws off your body chemistry and how your organs operate.
When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your bloodstream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually, this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as in your liver. And this is exactly how you become fat and begin to suffer from diseases like diabetes.
Lack of Rest Makes You Crave Food
Many people believe that hunger is related to willpower and learning to control the call of your stomach, but that’s incorrect. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Simply stated you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight. However, sleep deprivation makes that nearly impossible. Research published in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” found that sleeping less than six hours triggers the area of your brain that increases your need for food while also depressing leptin and stimulating ghrelin.
Sleep Sabotages Gym Time
Unfortunately, the impact of poor sleep also spreads beyond diet and into your workouts. No matter what your fitness goals are, having some muscle on your body is important. Muscle is the enemy of fat. It helps you burn fat and stay young. On the other hand, lack of sleep does not enhance good muscle growth. Scientists from Brazil found that ‘Sleep Debt’ decreases protein synthesis (your body’s ability to make muscle), causes muscle loss and can lead to a higher incidence of injuries.
Just as important, lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormones.
Good Health Equals Nutrition, Exercise and Good Sleep!
While there’s no hard number that applies to all people, a good rule of thumb is to receive between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and to make sure that one poor night of sleep isn’t followed up with a few more. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference and mean more than any other health decision you make.
Sleep Better to Look and Feel Better…
R.C. (Bob) Dimas
Be the best that you can be by doing whatever is necessary to improve the quality of your sleep!