Wish you could lose weight while you sleep? You actually can. In fact, you could sleep a little over 8 hours without feeling guilty, on expert authority. Your body burns fat while you sleep. How well you sleep affects how you burn fat when you’re awake. Turns out sleeping is a fantastic diet tool that most of us tend to take for granted.
The longer you’re up, the more hungry you’ll feel. But not for the reason you think. Hunger doesn’t have to do with willpower but with two hormones – ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin fuels appetite, leptin tells you when you stop eating. Lack of sleep makes these hormones uncontrollable. Sleep for less than six hours tricks ghrelin to rear its head and leptin to take a backseat. Sleep at least six to nine hours, and your appetite-controlling hormones will be in top order when you’re awake.
Sleeping keeps your metabolism in working order. A study found that sleeping less than six hours actually makes your body want to burn muscle at the cost of preserving fat. The body slows down metabolism with less sleep. Clock eight and a half hours and you can burn as many as 400 calories more.
A sleep-deprived brain is like a drunk brain, with poor impulse-control. It looks for quick rewards, since it’s tired out. You’ll be more likely to make bad decisions like reaching for sweets and snacks in the middle of the night.
Going into sleep debt can change how cells behave. Within just four days of sleep deprivation, the cells in your body stop using insulin properly. You may be feeling okay, pumped up with coffee. But your cells are doing their own thing, and it’s not good. When your insulin sensitivity drops, it interferes with how effectively fat cells remove lipids and fatty acids from your bloodstream. The unswept fats get stored back in your body, around your organs, in your liver and places you don’t want it to be.
How can you expect your sleep-denied body to have the energy to work out when it’s on an energy-saver mode? Your fitness goals are further thrown out of whack by poor sleep, because staying awake burns muscle. Growth hormones are released during slow wave sleep. Proper cortisol function also boosts the growth hormone.
A good night’s rest keeps you motivated to be active all day. It kills daytime fatigue. You’re more likely to get to the gym on days you’ve slept well. Athletes have been found to have better reaction times and better accuracy when they’ve slept well.
When you’re in your twenties, you’re likely to get away with many sleepless nights. But when you hit your thirties, your body becomes less indulgent of your whims and poor habits. Give it a rest! It will thank you with better weight loss results.
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