The key to effective weight loss is something more important than proper diet and exercise.
Everyone knows that to lose weight, you need to follow a healthy diet, avoid junk food, and drink plenty of water. But there is another important factor that will help you to improve your exercise and nutritional outcomes. This is sleep.
Healthy sleep is the most important thing to get enough if you are looking to lose weight, stay in shape, or shape the physique you want. Quality sleep, or lack of sleep, can improve or, accordingly, negatively affect even the most serious steps in maintaining health, fitness, and well-being.
How much time do you need to sleep?
We live in a modern world and consider ourselves advanced and highly developed. But in terms of physiology, we left close to the Stone Age. Our body is used to falling asleep when it gets dark outside the window, and waking up when it gets brighter. This is a 7-10 hour time span. Therefore, each person needs at least seven hours of restful sleep.
Why is sleep so important for weight loss?
Every bodily function is dependent on sleep. Equally, healthy sleep is essential for weight loss. Why is it so important? The human body is programmed to perceive a lack of sleep as stress. The body reacts to any type of stress load by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream, in particular, adrenaline and cortisol. The body perceives stress as a signal to prepare for the struggle for survival, and accordingly, it triggers the production of hormones to help you accumulate more energy from food for further struggle. In other words, you start to feel hungry.
These same hormones also signal the body to store as much stored fat as possible. As a result, it turns out that under stress you are constantly hungry, eat more, and in addition accumulate excess fat. It often affects people who have a hard deadline in their work and who are forced to periodically break the daily routine in order to complete the task on time.
When you burn out at work all day, and at night continue a sleepless marathon and sit at the monitor until the morning, you feel that your body is exhausted from lack of sleep.
It is logical that in this case, the body reacts in the only way it knows and begins to demand at least the simplest and most accessible source of energy – sugar. The stress on the body provokes hunger and the desire to get empty calories and fast energy.
Is sleep the stress assistant?
Stress hormones stimulate hunger and further weight gain. During sleep, the body is finally able to reboot, recover, and regulate hormone production.
At the slightest stress, your body tries to protect and reinsure you. So it turns out that when you drink energy drinks or eat cookies just to stay awake, your body thinks that you are literally struggling to survive. The body responds to stress by converting all of its energy from sugar into stores of fat, believing that times of hunger are coming and the need to switch from spending to storing.
If your body is getting enough restful, healthy sleep, it is confident that you are safe and will not starve to death in the near future, so there is no need to store fat stores. The stress response stops, your body feels comfortable again and starts burning fat for energy instead of storing it for a rainy day.
So, if you don’t get enough sleep, you will not be able to lose weight. This mistake is made by thousands of people. You can eat right and exercise regularly, but without adequate sleep, your body won’t be using up stored fat simply because it is trying to keep you alive!
Other aspects of the important role of sleep
Sleep plays a critical role in many aspects of your health. It helps you achieve peak physical activity and strengthens your immune system so you don’t get sick. While you sleep, the body is busy with self-healing at the cellular level.
Your skin, hair, nails, and concentration can all be improved with quality sleep. Who doesn’t want to think more clearly? Or look your best? Healthy sleep can even help get rid of cellulite! Sleep has a positive effect on all aspects of daily life, which is why getting enough sleep is the number one rule for effective weight loss.
What if you have trouble sleeping?
If you have been suffering from insomnia for a long time, try supplements or sleeping pills. There are many herbal and pharmacological preparations available to improve sleep, but it is recommended that you consult your doctor before taking it, especially if you are already taking any other medications.
In general, improving the quality and duration of sleep usually comes down to developing the right habits and adherence to the daily routine. In the modern world, many factors have a negative impact on our internal circadian rhythms, so we advise you to practice special “rituals” before bed for a better night’s rest:
- Try to go to bed at about the same time every day;
- Turn off TV and other gadgets an hour before bed;
- Dim the lights in your home as night approaches. The gradual onset of darkness tells the body that it is time for sleep;
- Do not put your phone near your bed or put it on silent mode at night. Otherwise, you will be distracted by messages and sound notifications. They can wait until morning;
- Buy a good mattress;
- Do things that help you relax before bed, such as taking a hot bath, doing yoga, reading, or meditating.
Remember that regular exercise and proper nutrition cannot replace healthy sleep. If you are trying to lose weight, sleep should be your top priority.