Much as diet and exercise (and lately calorie counting) typically is at the forefront of weight loss programs; research suggests that sleeping habits may be just as vital.
Let me paint this scenario: You did not sleep well last night, which resulted in you feeling sleepy at work. Then you are tempted to drink coffee and pair it with a doughnut (or bread!) for a quick pick me upper. Later on the day, still feeling tired, you decided to skip the gym and head over to the nearest drive-thru to pick up your dinner. Finally, you find yourself back in your bed to sleep. Sounds familiar?
It will not take a long time for an unhealthy cycle to bring the weight on. An interesting study from researchers at the University of Colorado showed that one week of sleeping about 5 hours a night led participants to gain an average of 2 pounds.
Sleep deprivation is a significant factor in the change in your hormones that controls hunger and appetite. The hormone leptin regulates appetite and boosts the body to expend energy and sleep deprivation decreases leptin in our system.
Sleep and Metabolism.
Sleep is like food for the brain. It is suggested that people sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night. Get less than that, and your body reacts differently. Too little sleep leads to a cortisol spike - this stress hormone signals your body to not used up your energy to fuel your waking hours.
In simple terms: It is more likely to retain fat in your body.
Studies found that when dieters have reduced sleep for over 14 days, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal. They felt hungrier and less satisfied after meals and drained energy.
It does not mean that if you sleep, you will lose weight. Essentially, it means that too little sleep hinders your metabolism and may result in weight gain.
How to have a good night's sleep?
In a world full of distractions, getting enough sleep is difficult when your gadgets entice you to stay up a little longer than you intended: looking at your phones, computers, tablets, and televisions.
Below are recommended steps to help sleep comfortably:
No using of gadget at least an hour before you hit the sack
Do not use your bedroom other than for sleep and relaxation.
Plan a bedtime routine. Prepare your body for sleep by taking a warm bath, meditate or read.
Wake up and sleep at the same time daily even on weekends.
Control what you eat and when to eat it. Do not eat heavy meals and drink alcohol or anything with caffeine (and chocolates) before bedtime.
Turn off the lights. Darkness signals your body to release your natural sleep hormone melatonin.
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