Most people often turn to exercise routines and reduce junks to cut some weight. However, experts recommend sufficient sleep for those who want to lose weight. Sleep deprivation is known to affect your weight, metabolism, and hormones, resulting in weight gain. A study by the National Sleep Foundation linked individuals lacking sufficient sleep with a tendency to eat large food portions, experience bouts of heightened food impulsivity, experience more fatigue, and need more calories.
Weight loss or gain is dependent on how the body balances ghrelin and leptin hormones. As such, sleep is an essential ingredient to your weight loss journey. Below are some ways sleep promotes weight loss.
Sufficient Sleep Decreases Food Cravings
Lack of sufficient sleep impairs the brain’s activation of the frontal lobe, which controls the brain’s impulse and decision-making processes. Individuals with impaired decision-making processes tend to make poor food-related decisions. Factually, you will opt for high-calorie, high fat, and high-sugars foods when tired. This is because food stimulates the reward centers of the brain in sleep-deprived individuals.
Justifying this is a study done at the University of Chicago, which concluded that sleep-deprived individuals couldn’t resist rewarding snacks, such as candy, chips, and cookies. Participants in the study could take snacks even after taking their meals. Besides, a study by Mayo Clinic found that those who sleep at least two-thirds of normal sleeping schedule ate 600 extra calories daily. As such, they gained approximately 2 pounds every week.
Lack of enough sleep leads to imbalanced ghrelin-leptin production. Sleep deprivation leads to decreased leptin production while increasing ghrelin production. Leptin is produced by fat cells and prompts the brain to control appetite. Ghrelin, on the other hand, stimulates hunger; it is produced in the brain and stomach. Based on this, sleep deprivation is directly associated with significant weight gain.
Lack of Sleep Decreases Resting Metabolic Rate and Promotes Insulin Resistance
Besides increasing food cravings, sleep deprivation negatively affects the body’s metabolism and stresses the body. Accrued sleep debt is also harmful as it affects normal hormonal functioning and carbohydrate metabolism. This is serious that one night of insufficient sleep can lead to insulin resistance, which can only be reversed once the debt is satisfied.
That said, sleep deprivation not only leads to an increase in stress hormones but also prompts the body cells to develop resistance to insulin. Individuals suffering from lack of enough sleep experience an increase in cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. A continuous increase in cortisol level leads to weight gain, causes mood problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, low energy levels, and causes additional lack of sleep. Fortunately, increased cortisol levels and insulin resistance can be reversed once sleep debt has been satisfied.
Sleep Deprivation Affects Gym Time
The negative effects of sleep deprivation extend beyond normal body functioning and diet. Lack of sufficient sleep makes it difficult to achieve your fitness goals. Sleep loss often leads to irresistible daytime sleepiness, which reduces the motivation to work out or attend your gym session. Besides, even if you gather enough motivation to visit the gym, you will have an increased risk of workout-related injuries.
Sleep loss is also associated with decreased protein synthesis, which is the body’s ability to synthesize muscles. Lack of sleep leads to decreased production of growth hormone, which slows down the body’s recovery after exercise sessions. That said, fitness experts advise sleep-deprived individuals to skip their workout routines.
Sleep Deprivation Reduces the Number of Good Bacteria in the Gut
Several studies have linked sleep loss to reduced gut microbiome. This is the community of microbes responsible for a healthy gut system. According to the studies, two nights of insufficient sleep leads to a significant decrease in these beneficial gut bacteria; this results in increased risks of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Participants in the study also developed insulin resistance.
Gut bacteria are responsible for shaping the body’s appetite and dictates the body’s predilections for food. The gut produces intestinal hormones quite similar to ghrelin and leptin, which signals the brain to induce or stop eating. Of much importance is the N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamines, which is produced by the good bacteria in the small intestine after meals. These hormones are converted to N-acyl-ethanolamines, which are powerful fatty compounds that suppress appetite.
That said, sleep loss impairs the body’s ability to sustain a healthy gut system. It promotes the growth of gut bacteria, which alters the satiety/hunger brain signaling. This can lead to weight gain.
Sleep for Better Weight Loss Results
The relationship between sleep and weight, both gaining and losing, is a vicious cycle. Understanding this relationship is thus essential for those looking to better their weight loss journey. Sleep loss has several cascading effects on weight, mostly resulting in weight gain. That said, promote your sleep routine by furnishing your bedroom with a good mattress, develop a sleeping schedule, and watch out for other factors that promote quality sleep.