By Kim Bureros
It’s no surprise that sleep is critical to your mental and physical well-being. Sleep isn’t just a time to let your brain relax, but it allows your body to regenerate.
During sleep, your muscles repair themselves, your white blood cells can reproduce, and even circulation improves given a consistent heartbeat and gravity working to its advantage. However, studies have shown that weight gain can be a dominating factor in sleep loss, as it pertains to sleep apnea.
There are many people who notice themselves gaining weight and actively seek ways to lose it. They may exercise, they may restrict greasy and fast foods from their diet, they may do everything you’re supposed to do and still gain weight.
This can be an extremely frustrating and humiliating experience, leading people to question, “What’s wrong with me?” While hormones and genes can also be a factor in weight gain, sleep is another contributing factor.
Our daily lives are filled with appointments and activities from the minute we wake up, to the minute we go to bed.
The first thing people tend to sacrifice is sleep. For many people, it’s hard enough to manage a job, relationships, children, or work/hobbies in their day-to-day life.
As a result, it’s time-costly just to work out for a few hours. Unfortunately, juggling all these activities around can lead to serious weight gain, making this especially unfortunate for people seeking to lose weight.
When the body does not get enough sleep, two hormones in particular are affected by severe shifts production: ghrelin and leptin.
Leptin has a habit of informing the body when its appetite has been sated; when you don’t want to eat anymore—Thanksgiving flashback. Ghrelin on the other hand balances the leptin hormone, informing the body when it needs to eat.
When the body hasn’t had enough sleep, leptin levels drop and ghrelin levels rise. Already this is sounding like a recipe for disaster.
Furthermore, when the body does not have sufficient time to sleep, all of its processes slow down. This not only affects muscle building, which is of course imperative when working out, but is also heavily critical when it comes to digestion and metabolism.
With these two functions slowing down, and appetites rising, the added intake of food is going to become fat. The body will be working so hard to stay awake and rejuvenate itself during the day, that burning fat and calories won’t come easily.
Several studies have proven that maintaining a healthy diet and consistent exercise will improve your physical condition, but this is only if you are getting enough sleep.
For instance, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine recently conducted a study over the course of 6 months. The study had half the participants engage in regular exercise, and the other half dedicated to a healthy diet.
The participants were able to record if they had any problems sleeping. The ones that did, did not lose as much weight as the participants who were on the exact same routine as their cohorts.
Bottom Line: If you want to lose weight, get better sleep!
Kim Bureros is the current Copywriter for SleepDisorders.com. She thoroughly enjoys writing, reading, kayaking, and volleyball. She also firmly believes that, “Building relationships is the key to success.”