It sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? However, recent research has proven that those who regularly get 8 hours of restful sleep every night have fewer problems with obesity than those who are chronically sleep-deprived. There are several reasons for this phenomenon.
(1.) Doctors have been aware that many of the body’s hormones are affected by sleep. Two hormones are important in regulating appetite. Ghrelin governs feelings of hunger and leptin promotes feelings of fullness. When you do not get enough sleep, levels of ghrelin rise and pangs of hunger increase in number and in intensity. At the same time, levels of leptin sink. You have to eat more food, more often, to satisfy hunger.
(2.) To add to the problem, when you don’t get enough sleep, the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, rises. The foods that you crave will be the “comfort foods”, sweet, high-calorie fare like chocolate bars, cheesecake, or cookies.
(3.) During sleep, the body carries out tasks of repairing and rebuilding itself. Organ tissue, muscles, ligaments and tendons are renewed and restored. This process takes energy. To accomplish it, the body burns calories from food consumed during the day. If you did not eat enough to complete the process, guess what? It will burn some of the calories stored as body fat and you will wake up thinner. That’s why it’s advisable to check your weight first thing in the morning if you’re dieting.
(4.) It’s important not to eat during the evening. If the body is busy digesting and storing calories from an evening snack, it will not be as efficient in burning calories to obtain energy for the deep-sleep restoration process.
(5.) On the days when you wake up alert and fully rested, you feel more positive about life in general. You are more focused and productive at work and more cheerful with colleagues and family. You may even have enough energy to visit the gym for a workout after a day at the office. This will result in further calorie consumption.
Traditional weight loss advice has focused on a regimen of sensible dieting and sufficient exercise. Now, thanks to recent scientific research, a third element has been added: eight hours of restful sleep each night.
Setting up a new schedule is easy. Think of the time you must wake up each morning and count back 8 hours. This is your revised bedtime.
For the first few days begin a little early to establish your new bedtime routine. After a quiet, peaceful evening, turn off the phone, the computer, and anything else that might be distracting. Have a warm bath, open a window slightly, and climb into your comfortable bed. Stretch a few times and then read for a while if you want to. At the appropriate time, turn off the light so the room is completely dark. You should be ready for sleep. And happily, while you snooze, you lose.
For further information on recent studies about the relationship between sleep and weight loss: follow this link: