Yes, getting a better, longer, nights sleep will aid in fat lose or actually reduce fat gain. Even while asleep, our body is splitting billions of glucose molecules to produce the energy required to keep our body functioning.
Most common theories these days suggest a normal healthy adult requires 7+ hours per night sleep as a minimum. Many suggesting a solid 8+ hours. Now this is not always as easy to achieve as it seems.
There are many current stressors during our busy lives that can affect this.
1. Work stress
2. Parenthood, looking after our kids
3. Stimulus from social media and “devices”
4. Stimulants like coffee, alcohol or drugs
5. Too much TV at night
It doesn’t take a long for lack of regular sleep, to result in added extra kilos of fat. Studies show one week of sleeping about only 5 hours a night can lead to gaining an about 1 kg!
That’s in 1 week! Just imagine the effect of a lifetime of poor sleeping habits.
With poor or lack of sleep your body goes through changes to hormones that regulate hunger and appetite.
The hormone leptin, which is produced in the small intestine, helps to regulate energy balance which in turn inhibits hunger. A lack of sleep disrupts the production of leptin.
The hormone ghrelin, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.
Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced and released mainly by the stomach with small amounts also released by the small intestine, pancreas and brain. Ghrelin has numerous functions. It is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. Ghrelin production increases with lack of sleep, leading to a feeling of hunger during the day.
Lack of sleep changes what foods you’re most interested in eating, creating more intense cravings for fat and sugar laden foods.
We also know that even after a moderate amount of sleep deprivation, you’re likely to eat more the next day. And lack of sleep makes you more likely to eat more of your overall calories at night, which can lead to weight gain.
This is due to the fact that as we stay up later, we are more likely to turn to food as we are bored. Yep, how easy is it to sit down in front of the TV with a packet of chips, or biscuits and just nibble away.
This leads us to the term intermittent fasting. Some believe and use intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. There is some truth in this form of eating habit. If you can stop eating as soon as you have finished your evening meal, and not eat again till the next days breakfast, you have limited an amount of food that you will consume. Intermittent fasting. Now, if you are staying up to the wee hours, you are more likely to keep snacking. This will tip you over the edge on trying to maintain a calorie deficit. If you recall, calorie deficit is secret 1 to fat loss!
Now I’m no sleep Doctor or expert, however there are a number of tactics we can implement to assist with getting more sleep.
1. Have an evening routine that gets you prepared for bed at a common time every night
2. Try to get up at the same time every morning. This helps set the pattern
3. Get off social media and devices at least an hour prior to bed time
4. Limit the intake of coffee and other stimulants from at least mid-afternoon that day
5. Try to make some time later in the day to unwind and or meditate. This may only need 5-10min. Just switch off
6. Read a novel before bed
7. No TV in your bed room
8. Have your bedroom at a cool temperature, (about 18 deg c) and try to have black out blinds or curtains
I hope you have enjoyed the read and it’s given you some food for thought.
What are you going to change in your lifestyle to help get more sleep and to assist in losing or not gaining more body fat?
Your Health in Focus,