Sleep and weight-loss?
Is there even a connection between the two? The answer is a surprising yes. Now, we would normally associate weight-loss with being active, which is why coaches, trainers, fitness gurus, etc., would recommend exercise about three to five times a week. On top of that, a healthy diet is also a huge part of losing weight. If people knew that sleep could actually contribute to weight loss, then a lot more people would prioritize it.
So, how does sleep affect weight-loss? Continue reading below as we discuss their relationship, as well as five smart sleep tips for weight-loss.
The Connection Between Sleep and Weight
So, how can sleep affect our weight? Well, sleep actually plays a major part in how much we gain or lose. In fact, a lack of sleep is connected to obesity.
According to this article by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sleep deprivation is linked to the activation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, which plays a role in the brain’s regulation of appetite and energy levels. The elements found in marijuana also stimulate the eCB, which is why people that take the drug gain a craving for tasty food. That is because the eCB affects the reward circuits in your brain, which makes you crave.
Additionally, the lack of sleep increases the amount of ghrelin that our brain produces. Ghrelin is the hormone that increases our appetite. And on the contrary, leptin, which is the hormone that helps us to feel full, decreases when we are sleep deprived.
In another approach, sleep is your best friend to achieve better health and well-being. If you lack it, your brain and body will not be able to perform to their highest potential. As an example, being sleep deprived makes you fatigued faster, and at the end of the day, it makes you too tired. This prevents you from doing exercises regularly.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Decision-Making
When your brain is deprived of sleep, it will not function to its fullest potential, as we mentioned earlier. Particularly, the frontal lobe or area of the brain is affected the most. This part of the brain is mostly responsible for movement and for cognitive functions. When we say cognitive functions, it refers to the ability of a person to plan, organize, and control one’s response.
When your frontal lobe is affected, you will not be able to make the best decisions. And like what we mentioned before when you lack sleep, your brain turns up the circuits of its reward mechanism. This makes you want to feel good, so you automatically grab a couple of bags of chips or a second slice of pizza.
5 Smart Sleep Tips for Weight-Loss
Create a Bedtime Routine
Having a routine is essential, not only for sleep but also for your day. That is because it helps you take control of your life. Plus, this article shows that researchers from Tel Aviv University show that a routine can also help lower anxiety.
Going back to your bedtime routine can help you to fall asleep faster. This is because your body has already adapted to this routine. For example, before sleeping, you take a nice warm bath, then you brush your teeth. This signals your brain that it is time for bed, releasing melatonin, which is the hormone that controls your sleep.
Falling asleep at the same time every night is also a fantastic way to help you fall asleep. This has something to do with our circadian rhythms, which is a natural and internal process that affects your sleep-wake cycle.
Make the Bedroom Solely a Place for Sleeping
Oftentimes, the bedroom is a place where binge-watch our favorite shows on Netflix or open up Twitter to find out what the latest gossip is about. The next time that you look up at the clock, it is already 3 AM, and you need to be out of the house by 8 AM, which gives you only roughly over three hours of sleep, which is way below the minimum of seven hours.
Aside from that, because of the worldwide pandemic that is happening today, most of us are working from home. This makes us tempted to grab our laptop and start working straight from our beds. In this case, get all work-related tasks outside the bedroom. Basically, make the bedroom a place for you to sleep.
Purchase the Right Mattress
Nowadays, having just any mattress will not cut it, especially if you want to have the best sleep every night. This is because having a bed that is too firm will develop unnecessary pressure, which can be quite uncomfortable. On the other hand, having a mattress that is too soft does not provide enough support, which promotes the misalignment of the spine. This will cause discomfort when you wake up.
Having the right bed means you have equal amounts of support as well as comfort. However, choosing the perfect mattress is not always as straightforward as one might think. So to help you get started, here are a few tips on how to pick the right mattress.
Before you get riled up, we only mean to stop consuming caffeine right before you go to bed. That is because it is a stimulant, meaning it increases the activity in your brain. Coffee, in particular, has a high amount of caffeine, but it is not the only beverage to stop drinking right before bedtime. Softdrinks (regular or diet), energy drinks, and black tea, also have high amounts of caffeine.
Stop Working Out Late
Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to cut down weight. However, it is only considered great when you do it earlier in the day. However, this topic is still open for discussion, as there are studies that show that working out late does not affect one’s sleep, while others show that it, in fact, does.
Nonetheless, these researches, such as this article from Harvard, conclude that working out at night is still possible provided that there is a gap of at least one hour between you finishing your workout and your bedtime. However, the article also concludes that a rigorous training session lowers the quality of sleep, despite having a one hour gap.
Overall, if you plan to work out at night, remember to only do light training. With this said, it is still best to exercise earlier in the day.
Sleep does a lot for so much for our overall well-being. That is why it is vital that we do not take it for granted. More than maintaining or losing weight, sleep helps us function better during the day, allowing us to perform at full potential. Creating a routine and sticking to it; making the bedroom a place solely a place to sleep; having the right mattress; eliminating caffeine, and avoiding working out late; can all help you sleep better as well as help you to lose weight. Follow our guide, so that you can experience the sleep that you deserve.