When it comes to weight loss, we all pay close attention to exercise and a healthy diet, but what most of us tend to lose out on is sleep. This comes as no surprise, considering our hectic lifestyles and increasing lists of to-do tasks. However, it’s important to realise that this can kickstart a vicious cycle of dependence on unhealthy food and binging, and lead to increased lethargy and reduced physical activity, which in turn makes sleeping at a reasonable hour more difficult. You might not be taking your sleep cycle seriously but the truth is it’s more important than you think.
1. The Sleep & Weight Loss Correlation
Researchers have come to find that just within 4 days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to process insulin (the master storage hormone) is disturbed – which affects your hunger hormones in a negative manner. When you’re deprived of sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, which is a hunger-inducing hormone; and produces reduced leptin, which is a hormone that signals fullness to the brain. The result is the exact opposite of what a person getting good sleep is prone to do which is overeating and hanging on to fat. In addition, lack of rest dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for making decisions and also controls impulses. It also leads to a spike in cortisol levels – which is a stress hormone that signals your body to conserve energy for waking hours. This means that a lack of shut-eye can hamper weight loss for a person who happens to be on a relatively healthy diet and exercise regime.
2. Focus on Sleep Quality
People on average need about 7-9 hours of sleep each day, to maintain an active metabolic rate, their ideal weight and to simply look, feel and function better. By prioritising sleep, you can look forward to seeing improved results from your workout and diet plan, and boosting your productivity at the workplace or school. It’s also important to focus on not just how much you sleep but the quality of sleep you get. For instance, 8 hours of poor-quality sleep will have the same effect as getting fewer hours of sleep. Today’s technology-dependent world can make it much more difficult to follow a healthy sleeping pattern, however, following these tips can facilitate a deeper and more restful night’s sleep:
- Avoid Caffeine and Rich Food: It’s best to avoid tea, coffee and chocolate after 2 pm, as consumption of these items leads to increased alertness. Heavy meals on the other hand can lead to heartburn, which makes it tougher to fall asleep.
- Make a Bedtime Ritual: Create a relaxing bedtime ritual, which involves taking a warm bath, meditating or reading.
- Shut Down all Electronic Gadgets: Avoid watching TV, or using your cell phone, tablet, or computer one hour before bed, as they do not promote relaxation and release.
- Stick to a Sleeping Schedule: Don’t fall prey to erratic sleeping hours, but choose to stick to a schedule of retiring and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
- Turn off the Lights: Darkness signals your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, whereas light suppresses it.
Apart from making you function as well as look your best, proper sleep also helps you lose weight and stick to your diet and exercise plan. It puts a halt to late-night snacking, helps you burn more calories, and boosts muscle mass which by itself leads to increased fat loss. It also helps you shop for healthier food, control portion sizes and keep the brain focused on day-to-day activities.
Understanding the sleep-diet connection will help you maintain a healthy body weight as well as boost your mental and physical health in more ways than one. If you would like to find out how Healing Touch’s Detox & Slim Therapy can complement your weight loss plan, check here.