Why Sleep Is Important For Weight Loss?
Sleep is essential for a variety of reasons, but to put it simple, our bodies start the recovering process when we sleep. It is then when our mind rests and our liver starts to process and eliminate the toxins.
Nonetheless, sleep is also directly linked to weight loss and numerous studies had been conducted in order to point out the exact connection between these two aspects. The University Of Chicago Medical Center has recently conducted a study which revealed that getting 8 hours of sleep per night can help your body burn up to two times more fat, as opposed to getting only 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
How Does Lack Of Sleep Affect The Production Of Cortisol?
Basically, the lack of sleep affects your weight on two different levels. Firstly, it interferes with the production of cortisol – cortisol is an essential hormone that is responsible for regulating the appetite. The less you sleep, the hungrier you will feel throughout the day. Secondly, the lack of sleep affects your body’s ability to process carbohydrates and to regulate the blood sugar level, thus resulting in high blood sugar. In turn, this will stimulate the production of insulin, and insulin is known to boost the production of fat.
It is essential to keep the cortisol levels as low as possible and one of the fastest, safest and easiest ways to do so is by sleeping enough. High levels of cortisol are linked to slow metabolism, not to mention that this will also interfere with your body’s natural ability to build muscle.
Understanding How Sleep Influences The Action Of Ghrelin And Leptin
The average adult should get between six and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, in order to notice visible weight loss. Ghrelin and leptin are two important hormones that, just like cortisol, are directly linked to the appetite: while leptin is designed to control hunger, ghrelin has exactly the opposite effect and it stimulates the appetite, thus making you eat more. If you do not sleep enough, the body will not produce as much leptin as it is supposed to, therefore you will feel hungry. At the same time, the levels of ghrelin (a substance that is secreted in the digestive tract) are dramatically increased.
The Connection Between Sleep And Growth Hormone
Like the name suggests, the growth hormone is a naturally occurring substance that is produced by the pituitary gland and deals with growth. Basically, this hormone is responsible for building muscle mass and with boosting the metabolism. Your metabolism plays a pivotal role when it comes to weight loss – the faster the metabolism, the more fat you will burn. On the other hand, a slow metabolism will eventually result in weight gain.
Sleep stimulates the production of growth hormone, which in turn stimulates the metabolism and turns your body into a real fat burning furnace. This can be regarded as a “positive vicious circle” that will benefit you in the long run, as a fast metabolism is by far the best ally you can get in your fight against the extra pounds.
Nonetheless, it must be mentioned that this works the other way round as well: sleep does support weight loss, while weight loss improves sleep at the same time by reducing sleep apnea and habitual snoring, as well as by improving the overall quality of the sleep. It is important to understand that the amount of sleep you get per night is not as important as the quality.
If you sleep superficially (this is commonly referred to as “slow-wave sleep”), you may wake up even more tired than you were the night before. Moreover, low-quality sleep is also linked to reduced levels of growth hormone, which plays a pivotal role when it comes to regulating the body’s fat and muscle proportions.
The Bottom Line
To summarize, sleep is a vital factor when it comes to losing weight. It can easily suppress your appetite and boost your metabolism at the same time. Moreover, if you are a professional athlete or bodybuilder, then getting enough sleep will undoubtedly benefit you on more than just one level, as it is a known fact that the small injuries inflicted by exercise get healed when you sleep. As mentioned above, it is then when your body basically rebuilds itself!