Just like exercise and eating the correct foods sleep is essential to your daily function and weight loss goals. Poor sleep can ruin your diet, change the fat cells in your body, increase cravings and take away from your energy and drive when exercising. A lack of sleep can cause your body to compensate for energy by making you hungrier so you can feed your body more to supply your energy for the day and when you are trying to lose weight that can be counterproductive specially if you are on a meal plan or have a set number of calories you are hitting each day.

In a research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine a group of dieters were split into two test groups. All dieters had the same diet but half of them were deprived of sleep and the other half received an adequate amount of rest. The study showed that the group that received adequate sleep lost 55 percent fat and the group that did not receive much rest lost half percentage of fat loss that the well-rested group achieved. The dieters who did not rest enough even experienced greater hunger, lack of energy and were less satisfied after their meals.

Think about it! How did you feel the last time you slept less then 7-8 hours? Exhausted? Down in the dumps? Lazy? Sleep revives you! It kick starts your body and gets your metabolism up to speed and helps with recovery. When your body has not received enough sleep, you can experience something called “metabolic grogginess”! We all have busy lives and sometimes rest becomes a sacrifice to get everything done. University of Chicago researchers analyzed that after four days of sleep deprivation your body’s ability to properly use insulin becomes severely disrupted. The researchers found that insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30 percent! Why is insulin so important? When your insulin is functioning well your fat cells remove fatty acid and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage. When you are insulin resistant fat circulates in your blood and pumps out more insulin causing fat to store in your tissues.

Lack of sleep will push you to eat the foods you shouldn’t eat. Our hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that is produced in your fat cells and the less leptin you produce the emptier your stomach feels. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you stimulate hunger while reducing the number of calories you burn and increasing the amount of fat you store. To control your weight these two hormones must be under control and if you are sleep deprived this will be difficult to control. Sleeping less than six hours triggers your brain to increase your need for food while depressing leptin and stimulating ghrelin.

The more you sleep the better your life will be all around! The more rest we have the more energized we feel and the more energy we have the more work we can get done when we exercise. Regardless if you are losing weight, staying healthy or trying to get bigger and stronger the more muscle your body has the more fat you can burn. Having more muscles help you burn fat and stay young. When you do not sleep enough your body cannot synthesize protein causing muscle to be lost. So, sleep more! Lose more weight! Feel better all around!

Katrina Villa – CPT