Losing weight can be a painful process. You have to watch what you eat, which likely means giving up on some of your favourite foods. You’ll have to make time to exercise, which can be tough when you’re always busy. All these changes can also make you feel grumpy and moody, which aren’t good feelings to have. So why do we put ourselves through so much pain?
For one, it’s good for our health. When you’re overweight, losing weight means you’re burning fat, which leads to numerous health benefits. Getting the fit and trim body you’ve always wanted, plus decreasing your risk of developing any chronic illnesses – what’s not to like?
With so much work going into losing weight, it can understandably be upsetting when it seems like your efforts are not working and you’re not seeing the results you wanted. What you need to understand is that there are many factors that determine the amount of weight you lose, some of which you might not even realize can affect the process. One such factor is the amount and quality of sleep you get every night.
How Sleep Influences Weight Loss
There are a few ways that sleep can affect your weight. Most notably, there are many negative effects of not getting enough good sleep, and some of these effects can, directly and indirectly, affect your ability to lose weight.
It is recommended for adults to have at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night if they want to be at their best the next day. Unfortunately, many people do not adhere to this guideline and they end up sleeping fewer hours. If this habit of insufficient sleep persists over an extended period of time, there will be consequences – feeling tired and moody all the time, dark circles around your eyes, and a higher chance of gaining weight which will ultimately lead to physical health complications and opening yourself up to chronic diseases. Here are some of the negative effects that can impact your weight loss plans when you don’t get enough sleep.
Poor sleep, caused either by insufficient hours of rest or bad sleep quality, makes us feel tired. This can dull any activity in our brain’s frontal lobe, which is what controls our impulsiveness and ability to make decisions — in simple terms when you’re tired and sleep, you’re more likely to make bad decisions. Not an ideal situation you’d want to be in when you’re trying to lose weight, as it can cause you to make poor diet choices and end up with weight gain instead of weight loss. It also does not help that sleeping too little will increase your appetite and encourage you to eat bigger portions. This only ends with you consuming more calories than you intend to, and you’ll have a tougher time trying to stop yourself due to your impaired decision-making abilities.
Looking For Comfort Food
When you’re feeling tired due to a lack of sleep, your body reacts and makes you crave foods that will give you the energy boost you need to stay awake. These cravings tend to be foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, and these are typically high in calories as well. Junk food like potato chips, chocolates, candy, and even fast food are just some of the options you’ll probably be craving for, and while they may give you the energy to stay awake, they’re also going to make you gain weight and feel even sleepier once the sugar rush wears off. Studies have also found that more people develop late night snack cravings when they do not have enough sleep, and they were also more likely to choose high-carb and fatty snacks.
Decreases Resting Metabolism
Insufficient sleep causes you to feel more stressed because, with not enough sleep, your body produces an excessive amount of cortisol, otherwise known as the hormone that causes stress. Cortisol helps your body to react to stressful situations, like keeping you awake when you’re sleepy. However, to help you keep your eyes open, cortisol sends signals to your brain and body to go into power-saving mode — just like a phone battery, you’re prolonging your “battery life” by making a few adjustments, and in this case, your body holds onto fat reserves that will be used to fuel you if necessary. Simply put, you’re going to find it a lot harder to burn fat and lose weight.
No Energy To Workout
This one is quite straightforward — when you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll feel tired and sleepy the next day, which means you’ll have no energy to exercise. A lack of proper sleep will cause you to develop daytime fatigue, which also makes you less motivated to hit the gym or go for a run. Couple that with your fatigue-induced poor decision making, and you’ll likely be skipping the workout sessions more often than you realize.