SLEEP: Can it help you to lose weight?

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So often, we hear all about nutrition, exercise, and diets while talking about weight loss.  There’s one key ingredient missing that helps with weight loss, and almost NOBODY (myself included) is talking about it.

Proper SLEEP is a crucial ingredient in weight loss.  Current research suggests that proper sleep can help you avoid gaining weight and can gradually help you lose weight over time. However, if you’re hoping to lose 10 pounds in a month, sleep by itself isn’t the answer. Let’s check out why:

1.   Less sleep = less energy

The less sleep you get, the less energy you have to simply live. That means you have less energy to exercise & be active, less energy to work, and your body has less energy to efficiently burn calories.

2.   Lack of sleep causes hormonal imbalances

Without proper sleep, your body can’t produce the proper hormones needed to live a healthy life. Two hormones that are created while we sleep—leptin and gherkin—help to control appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t make these two important hormones, which means you eat more than you need while awake.

3.   Sleep helps to stop late night snacking.

Often times, late at night is when mindless snacking happens.  You’re watching TV and grab a bag of chips because you’re bored and want something to munch on, but if you check in with your hunger levels, you’re not really hungry.  If you start going to bed earlier, you’re MUCH less likely to indulge in late night mindless snacking.

4.   Lack of sleep weakens your immune system

Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to get sick more often.  In addition, those who don’t get enough sleep take longer to recover once they ARE sick.  When we sleep, our bodies release proteins called cytokines.  When we get sick, our bodies need to produce even more cytokines to help fight off our infections. 

So what’s the solution?

Ideally, we should try to sleep for 7-9 hours every night.  I know that’s much easier said than done, so how do we make that happen??

Check out these ways to improve your sleep:

  • Put away electronics at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Read, meditate, stretch, or find some other way to relax before going to bed
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Be sure your bedroom is cool (67 degrees)
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible
  • GO TO BED!  Most of your late-night worries can wait until tomorrow morning.  Resist the urge to worry about your biggest struggles and go to bed!

Eating healthy and exercising is important to losing weight and reaching your health and fitness goals, but proper sleep is crucial to helping you reach your goals.  Strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and you’ll be surprised how energized you feel and how it helps you reach your goals!