Wouldn't it be incredible if you crept into bed one night and woke up the following morning a slimmer you? While it won't occur overnight, new research from Harvard University suggest that slimming up while you sleep is as far fetched as you may have thought.
For the study, researchers looked at the sleep habits of 133,353 healthy women. Over a 10 year span, women who slept well were 45% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared with those who had trouble falling asleep, snored, slept less than 6 hours, or had sleep apnea.
Late Nights Can Lead To Late Eating
When your circadian rhythms get out of sync, your body will produce more ghrelin, the hormone that increases your appetite. This could lead to weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, says the study’s lead author Yanping Li, M.D., Ph.D., a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Additionally, not getting enough sleep decreases your body’s production of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.
A study from the Mayo Clinic found that cutting just 80 minutes from one’s regular sleep schedule could lead to eating an average of 549 extra calories a day! I think all of us would take the sleep over the calories!
Decrease in Sleep = Increase in Stress
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that those who slept 8.5 hours a night lost twice as much weight as those who slept 5.5 hours a night, despite consuming the same number of calories.
Li points to the fact that recent findings have concluded that lack of sleep leads to an increased production of the stress hormone, cortisol which can cause inflammation and trouble with insulin, leading to weight gain.
Obviously getting enough sleep is not the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss but it is very important. “When approaching weight loss, I tell my patients to imagine a three-legged stool, each one representing diet, exercise, and sleep,” says Alexandra Sowa, M.D., clinical instructor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Without one of the legs, the whole effort will collapse.” In other words, getting enough sleep will not make up for eating poorly and avoiding exercise.
Sleeping Weight Loss Tips
Here are some tips to follow if you want improved sleep and to wake up a little lighter:
1. Aim for 6.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep. In a study from Brigham Young University, women who slept between 6.5 and 8.5 hours a night had the smallest risk of gaining fat.
2. Sleep at the same time every night. The Brigham Young University study also found that going to sleep at the same time every night was essential for keeping fat away.
3. Turn down the heat. Sleeping in a colder room (like one around 66.2 degrees), increases your levels of healthy fat, revs up your metabolism, and improves insulin sensitivity.
4. Close the curtains. Women who sleep in dark rooms are 21% less likely to be obese than those who sleep in light rooms, according to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
5. Power down your electronics. The blue light from your smart phone, tablet, computer and/or television decreases your body’s melatonin levels - melatonin is the chemical that allows you to fall asleep. Research from the University of Granada in Spain found that reduced levels of melatonin can lead to weight gain. Turn off all of your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed time.
6. Don’t forget the other factors on the 3 legged stool. As mentioned before, getting enough sleep will not make up for the damage caused by making poor food choices and being sedentary all day.
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Are you getting enough sleep at night? Could your sleep be affecting your weight loss efforts?
Khyrunnessa Rabbani - I am perfectly imperfect! Passionate believer if you love your body and yourself and the rest will fall into place.