What are the usual keys to losing weight? We all usually hear eat clean and workout and the weight will fall off. However, we do not usually hear ways sleep can help you lose weight. So when the weight is not falling off, what do we do?
We workout longer
Change our workouts to burn more calories.
Cut our calories
Pay attention to when we eat carbs, fat and proteins and so on.
Well, sometimes those alone do not cut it. Then we end up disappointed and angry at our bodies for not being on the same page. Especially when you have things going on in your life that may be adding stress to you. One thing we tend to forget or not pay attention to is sleep. Gosh i love to sleep, but i do not get as much sleep as i would love to. We all tend to be super busy and so it’s very common to see people going to bed at 2 am or very late in the night and waking up early. Partly because we think by staying up late and waking up early, we will be closer to achieving our goals. I find after a certain time, i try to do things but my brain shuts down. Then i look up and its an hour later and i have not achieved anything extra. Waste of time right?
Anyway, so let’s discuss some reasons why you need to sleep for weight loss and how to fix this sleep problem.
Why you need to sleep to lose weight
Ways sleep can help you lose weight
Sleep can help reduce stress
When you are stressed, your body will release a hormone called cortisol which leads to fat gain and the accumulation of excess fat in the lower belly. So if you are wondering why you are still not losing that tummy, you may want to check your sleep pattern. When you lack sleep, you send your body into stress mode and it produces the cortisol. Now you see how sleep is linked with belly fat loss and why you need to sleep to lose weight?
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Sleep can reduce overeating
When you stay awake longer than you should or just do not get enough rest, your body craves more food. In a research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, they found that when people slept for less than 6 hours a day, their brains were triggered to make them feel they needed more food. in other words, they felt hungrier. The hunger trigger is controlled by leptin and ghrelin. When your body produces more Leptin, your stomach feels full faster while when your body has less Ghrelin, your stimulate fewer hunger signals. This simply means in order to feel fuller, your body needs more Leptin and less Ghrelin. When you do not get enough sleep, your body produces less Leptin and more Ghrelin, so you end up craving more food. By craving more food, you end up eating more calories and usually unhealthy calories.
Sleep affects your gym time
When you do not get enough sleep, chances are you would skip your workout. You probably would not have the energy to go to the gym or perform well when you go. I have definitely had moments where i did not sleep enough but ended up going to the gym and could barely function.
Sleep affects your muscle recovery
When you workout, your muscles need to rest to recover. Lack of sleep decreases protein synthesis which is your body’s ability to make muscle. This, in turn, will lead to some muscle loss and hence more injuries. We all know muscle helps to burn fat, the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. The lack of sleep hinders this muscle growth and reduces the potential to lose weight and burn fat.
How to get more sleep to lose weight
So how do you get more sleep?
Now as a mother, i know it can be really hard to get some sleep. Especially when everyone is asleep and you want to use the time to clean up. But trust me, the dirty house can wait, your health is more important.
Turn off all electronics
Yes, turn off all of them especially your phone. Have you had periods where you tell yourself you will sleep in 5 minutes but let me check Instagram real quick? Then 1 hour later, you are still on Instagram lollll. I have had so many of those. So put your phone away while you try to sleep.
Dim the lights
Turn off the lights or dim them. You could get a night lamp and put next to you. I cannot really fall asleep when the lights are on or the sun is in my face.
Take some melatonin
If you are having a hard time sleeping regularly, you could try some Melatonin. they come in various kinds and doses. As a pharmacist, i highly recommend melatonin to my patients as its more natural as opposed to taking other sleep medications daily.
Do some meditation
You could try some meditation using worship music and just stay calm and free your mind of stressful thoughts.
Read a book
Pick up an easy book to read and spend a few minutes reading some pages. Do not read from your phone cause you may end up on social media when you get notifications.
Prayer is so important. For me, on days i cannot sleep, i sometimes just lay on my bed and pray. It’s a great opportunity to pray regarding random things or even just pray for God to give you sleep and peace. You do not have to get up from the bed. Trust me, i always fall asleep doign this.
Try doing a few easy stretches, you can do them on your bed to relax your body.
Most importantly, you need to see sleep as a priority if not then you would continue to hinder your weight loss goals.
Feel free to check out some more reasons to sleep on Shape.com
What are some ways sleep can help you lose weight and how have you been able to sleep better?