Getting to bed early and sleeping well into the morning may not sound like a good way to shed those extra pounds, but a lot of serious research has pointed to the importance of good sound sleep being a cornerstone for effective weight loss. So believing that keeping awake long into the night and remaining active will burn off those extra pounds could well be a mistake.
In a controlled study it was found that the weight lost by volunteer dieters during periods of inhibited sleep was the same amount as the dieters on normal sound sleep, about 3kg (6.6lbs).
The sleep deprived volunteers lost 0.6kg (1.32lbs) of fat whilst the sound sleeping dieters lost 1.6kg (3.08lbs) of fat. That’s over double the amount of fat lost by the sleepers.
The rest of the weight lost was stuff like water and muscle; water which is quickly replaced and and who wants to lose the toning that muscle provides.
Turning your dreams of eating into reality and getting up in the night to have a piece of chocolate cake is not a good idea. We all know this even if we don’t understand the science behind it, but the mechanics of the process is beginning to be understood.
Our circadian rhythm, the internal clock which governs our daily pattern of life, and a gene that controls weight gain through eating fatty diets, seem to be heavily involved in the control of our weight.
Sleep and Weight Loss in Mice?
Experiments with mice have shown that given free access to fatty food (read yummy) during periods of inactivity or rest increased their weight 2.5 times more than those mice given a free range to food during their normal active periods.
There are 2 hormones in control of appetite and metabolism, grehlin which stimulates the feeling of hunger and leptin which tells the brain that the body is full. As you may guess, in research done on sleep and dieting, levels of grehlin have shown to become higher in sleep deprived individuals and leptin levels have decreased.
If you’re a bad sleeper then you might not know it but your levels of the stress response hormone, cortisol will rise, which in turn leads to a craving for those high calorie, comfort foods that make us feel fat and uncomfortable.
If that wasn’t enough there are the human growth hormones (HGH) that work in children to promote cell growth in the body and it’s organs (except the brain). Later in life it regulates the fat to fuel burning process and is largely secreted during sleeping hours. So without enough proper deep sleep fat accumulates.
Losing weight was thought to be a straight forward process; you diet and you exercise and the calories being consumed were less than those that were expended through exercise and general activity.
So sleep more and you will lose weight?
Well it’s not quite as easy as that to lose a those pounds but it’s becoming clearer that the big three for a healthy weight controlled, active life is diet, exercise and sleeping well.
Given the current evidence available it would seem obvious that a regime of healthy eating and exercise would almost be a wasted effort if the you weren’t getting sound sleep and maintaining a consistent sleeping pattern.
If you don’t feel comfortable with the quality and amount of sleep you’re currently getting then you need some sleeping tips.