Sleep and Weight Loss
In theory, achieving a healthy weight should be pretty easy, right? Just eat fewer calories and work out regularly to burn fat and build muscle.
But, as we know, there are a variety of factors that can affect your weight beyond what you eat and your activity levels. Sleep is another crucial, but less talked about, factor.
It's no secret that quality sleep is a foundation of any healthy lifestyle -- getting enough zzz's supports mental clarity, a longer attention span, higher energy levels, a stronger immune system, better moods, and improved memory.
But there's also a significant connection between sleep and weight. If you're looking to get healthy this year, it's important to take a holistic approach that considers not only diet and exercise but also rest.
What happens when you don't sleep enough
If you're not getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, your metabolism can actually slow down, which means you can passively pack on extra pounds because you don't burn as many calories throughout the day and night.
A lack of sleep can also leave you feeling hungrier and craving certain high-calorie foods because it triggers the hormone that stimulates your appetite and decreases the hormone that makes you feel full. And because sleep deprivation can affect the part of your brain responsible for decision-making, you won't always make the right choices when you're tempted to eat another scoop of ice cream or finish a plate of french fries.
The effects can be even more straightforward, too -- the more hours you're awake, the more time you have to snack, and all those calories add up. Not to mention that if you're feeling tired and groggy because you didn't catch enough shut-eye, you're much less likely to get to the gym or go for that after-work jog.