You know that maintaining a healthy weight depends on sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan, but there’s more to the story. As it would turn out, sleep is another major factor for weight loss and maintenance, and you may have some issues keeping your waistline in check if you don’t get enough of it. Why? Because when you’re sleep-deprived you could find yourself making unhealthy eating choices or getting into a routine that puts healthy habits on the back-burner. Think eating bigger portions, late-night snacking, skipping exercise, resorting to junk food, etc. Add all of these up, and you can wind up packing on some extra pounds.
Roughly speaking, your weight depends 80% on diet and 20% on exercise. This means that if you’re making unhealthy food choices AND skipping the gym, this double negative will weigh you down. But even with a crazy schedule that doesn’t leave much time to work out, it is critical that sleep is a priority. This is because getting enough sleep, even without making it to the gym, can keep you in the clear. Your healthy food choices, guided by your well-rested brain, will keep your weight on track. In this case, sleep may be the ticket to your ideal weight, and the sweaty calorie burn doesn’t need to be essential.
Sleep is also crucial to maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is how your body processes food and converts it into energy. The faster your metabolism is, the more quickly your body burns calories. Lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism so that your body doesn’t burn as many calories when processing food. So you don’t necessarily need to be sweating bullets to blast calories, but maintaining a healthy metabolism is especially critical.
Then there’s the sleep-mind connection, which plays a role in your diet. Just like your muscles need a break to work properly, so does your brain. If you deprive your brain of its time to relax it won’t work properly, and communication with the rest of your body won’t be as efficient. When it comes to eating, lack of sleep can interfere with your brain’s ability to send a signal to your body that you’re full after a meal. This will likely leave you eating more and storing those extra calories as fat.
Finally, failing to get enough sleep can throw off your levels of leptin and ghrelin, which are known as your “hunger hormones” and regulate your appetite. Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in leptin levels and a spike in ghrelin. While low amounts of leptin cause a disconnect during the communication process where your brain is telling your body it’s full, higher ghrelin levels boost your appetite so you are more likely to overeat. It is important to get proper sleep in order to avoid imbalances that throw these hunger-regulating hormones out of whack.
What better excuse to turn in a few hours early? Maybe sleep isn’t such a lazy pass-time, after all.
To help you make sure that you’re getting enough sleep every night – and keeping your waistline in check – try sipping on some reBloom before bed.