Weight Loss Secret
Everyone knows that eating a proper diet along with strength-building exercises will help you with weight loss by loosing body fat and building muscle. The best kept weight loss secret is SLEEP! YES SLEEP!!!!
If you’re trying to lose weight, i.e. dead weight or body fat, you’ve probably tried to restrict your calories increase your activity level/calorie burn by adding in cardio until you are at a caloric deficit.
So what now? You’re following your meal plan and training 4 to 6 times a week but you’re still not reaching your goals…. Does this sound familiar? If you feel your weight loss goals are harder than ever to reach then its time to think about more than your nutrition and training.
Most of us struggle to balance life and work and gym and TV/leisure time – we are on the go all day long! We stay up as late as we can to watch our favorite programs and we get up early to start the process all over again. But these habits are working against your health goals!
Sleep is just as important as your nutrition and training program, if not more so, when it comes to reaching your goals.
- Leads to a potential increase in calorie consumption
- Slows your recovery process
- Increases your insulin resistance (making you store more fat)
- Causes hormonal imbalances
- Lowers your testosterone
- Reduces your body’s natural levels of growth hormone (which help burn fat) and
- Makes it harder for your brain to function!
SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND CALORIE INTAKE
When you are really tired, do you find it more difficult to make good decisions about the food you eat? You’re not alone on this one. Studies show that people who get less than seven hours of sleep are likely to consume 385 more calories a day! Not only are you likely to eat more, but your cravings are harder to combat when you’re sleep deprived.
The science behind those cravings:
When you’re sleep deprived, ghrelin levels increase and leptin levels decrease. Ghrelin is the hormone in your body that controls hunger. This hormone signals your brain that you are hungry. So when these levels go up, your brain sends the signal to eat! Leptin is the hormone that signals your brain that you are full. So when these levels go down, your brain doesn’t give the signal to stop eating.
To make matters worse, when you’re sleep deprived, you tend to crave unhealthy refined and concentrated foods that are loaded with sugar, fat, or salt…or worse yet, all three! Adding to this, when you’re sleep deprived your body is not as efficient at handling and processing the increased intake of these sugary refined calories. When you’re sleep deprived, you become more insulin resistant – your body isn’t able to regulate the increased sugar and it is more likely to store the extra calories as body fat rather than use them for fuel.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND HORMONES
Hormones are the chemical messengers within your body that control most of your major bodily functions. These messengers control simple and complex bodily functions from hunger, to emotions and mood, reproduction and yes body composition – where and how your body stores fat and builds muscle.
The more muscle your body has the more efficient your body is at burning fat. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in muscle mass. There are several factors at play here. When you sleep, your body releases the most growth hormone as it completes its repair and recovery processes. Growth hormone plays a vital role in cell reproduction and regeneration. In other words, the more growth hormone your body releases, the more capable your body is at stimulating protein synthesis, i.e. muscle growth, regeneration and repair – RECOVERY!
Also, when you suffer from lack of sleep your body reduces testosterone and increases cortisol. Testosterone is the “feel good” hormone that also is anabolic, making your body more likely to build and develop muscle. Men and women both need testosterone to feel good. Cortisol is a hormone that is catabolic in nature. Increases in cortisol lead to decreases in muscle and lean mass and increases in fat storage.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU NEED?
This is the obvious question. Studies by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend 7 to 9 hours each night for your body to perform optimally. The exact amount varies for the each individual.
Serious athletes who strive to be their leanest and strongest tend to get up to 10 hours of sleep a day.
It is a safe bet that if you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, you are hitting the bare minimum. Those who train intense probably need a bit more. With that being said, if you feel like you need more, try to get extra sleep and see if that doesn’t just help you lose the last bit of fat you have been struggling with. If you aren’t able to dedicate 7+ hours of sleep a night, try to get in a nap during the day.
If you find yourself in need of help falling asleep faster, check out this article by the HUFFPOST, 15 Science Backed Ways to Fall Asleep Faster.
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