Can Sleep Help with Weight Loss?
I’m a sleeper. Ever since I was a small child my mother never had to tell me to go to bed. I’d put myself to bed early and sleep until the late morning hours. I can easily sleep for 10-12 hours straight.
On average, you need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night. If you’re getting this already, another half hour won’t help you lose weight, but did you know that if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you can start dropping weight.
Exactly how lack of sleep affects your ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones, your hunger and fullness hormones, including two called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.
Also, when you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to reach for a large latte to get moving and go for a chocolate bar or other comfort foods because you lack the impulse control to say no. You might be tempted to skip exercise because you’re too tired, get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full.
There are three easy things you can do to help you get more sleep. The first is to avoid any caffeine in the afternoon because it’ll keep you in the lighter stages of sleep, which is associated with poorer sleep at night.
Secondly, exercise during the day helps improve sleep quality. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime as it actually wakes you up.
Lastly, watch what you eat before bedtime. Stay away from a heavy, rich meal as it can increase risk of heartburn, which will certainly keep you up all night.
As the mattress commercial says, Good Night and Sweet Dreams.