Sleep can help you lose weight
Most people are unaware that sleeping, the least energy-intensive activity, can be useful for losing weight. Usually, people are focused on physical activity and diet. But a healthy lifestyle includes many fundamental constituents, and one of them is healthy sleep.
Unfortunately, the modern pace of life and everyday stress contribute to the fact that more and more people are sleeping too less (less than five hours) or have trouble sleeping. Sometimes, we neglect sleep and rest because we have an important project to finish. It’s not harmful if it’s a one-time occurrence, but if repeated regularly, it may harm your health.
Sleep is the time to regenerate the body.
We have all probably experienced this insatiable hunger that strikes us when we sleep less. Whatever we eat, we do not feel full. Well, there is a medical explanation for this.
Lack of sleep increases appetite
You must have noticed that after a bad night or too less sleep, you want to eat something sweet, fat, or unhealthy in a larger amount than you usually eat. Research shows that people who do not sleep will consume up to 550 kcal more than people who sleep enough. It is because of hormonal imbalances. The leptin and ghrelin hormones are responsible for the feeling of hunger and satiety. They are opposite hormones:
– Leptin is produced in fat cells. Its high level causes a lack of appetite. The level of leptin in the blood is proportional to the amount of fat.
– Ghrelin is produced in the stomach. It is secreted mainly in situations where the stomach is empty. It causes an increase in appetite.
These hormones are meant to inform us when we should eat something and when we should not. However, in the case of sleep disorders or lack of sleep, they start to work incorrectly. People who sleep less have lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin. This causes a significant increase in appetite and hunger even after a meal. Sleepy people eat more.
The influence of hormones on the digestion of fats and sugars
In addition to imbalances in the secretion of leptin and ghrelin, insufficient sleep also causes disturbances in the secretion of insulin and cortisol.
Cortisol is produced in stressful situations. Lack of sleep is perceived by the body as extreme stress. If we do not get enough sleep and the leptin level falls and cortisol levels rise, then the insulin level rises, which increases appetite and causes the fat tissue in the body to be more effectively deposited.
Abnormal levels of these hormones cause poor functioning of the pancreas and liver, which are important for the digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Excess energy is deposited in the form of adipose tissue because it is not used in other processes occurring in the body.
How many hours does it take for healthy sleep?
It is difficult to answer this question unambiguously. Both the length of sleep and regularity in falling asleep and waking up have a significant impact on our quality of life and health.
Scientists argue that people whose daily rhythm of activity and sleep is constant have less body fat. Falling asleep, waking up, physical activity, and eating should be compatible with our biological clock so that the processes taking place in the body properly work. The duration of rest at night is equally important. You should sleep for at least 6.5-8.5 hours. Shorter or longer sleep will disturb the above-mentioned processes.
Suitable conditions for sleep
The temperature in your bedroom should be around 68°F (20°C). If you feel cold at this temperature, use an additional blanket. The temperature in the bed should be higher than in the bedroom. Why? The lower temperature forces the body to produce additional energy and supports the brain through adequate oxygenation.
How to prepare for sleep
- Make relaxing a priority.
- Engage in stress-free evening activities that help you relax. It can be yoga or reading a book.
- Avoid electronics and blue light an hour before bedtime.
- Reduce, or preferably, eliminate alcohol, tea, and caffeine.
- Ventilate the room before going to sleep.
- Do not take snacks and other food to bed.
- Go to sleep when you feel drowsy. People working on adapting yourself to your biological clock confirm unanimously that the body itself gives signals when it’s time to sleep (every day at the same time).
- Limit noise entering the bedroom.
- Introduce at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily life.
As you can see, good sleep has a positive effect not only on our well-being but also on the proper functioning of the endocrine system. Moreover, when we sleep, the body carries out many important processes related to cell regeneration, rebuilding the receptors, preserving memory, and organizing the stimuli the senses picked up throughout the day. A rested body is a rested mind.