Can Not Getting Enough Sleep Affect Weight Loss?
Can Lack of Sleep Affect Weight Loss?
That was the question I was asked. Let me explain.
Last week I was having lunch with an aquatiance I knew who was also attending the conference I was at and we started talking about weight loss. Being a fitness and nutrtion coach I get asked weight loss questions all the time. It comes with the teritory 🙂
Well she was telling that she was getting frustrated because she wasn’t losing weight and wanted to know what she could do to get rid of some of the belly fat around her waist. The first thing I always do when someone tells me they are frustrated that they can’t lose weight and want some advice is I ask some general questions about daily habits. Simple stuff, like how many days of week do they work out, how long, intensity. What consumes most of their time. Do they work full-time, stay at home, have kids, etc. I also ask about their nutrtion and sleep habits. I try to get an understanding of the big picture.
So, my friend here, just so happens to be a small business owner and entrepreneur, which keeps her busy and burning the midnight candle like most entreprenuers do. So, I asked her, “how much sleep does she get on average every night?” She told me she didn’t really know but if she was to guess probably around 5 hours and on a good night maybe 6. So, I said to her, “maybe your lack of sleep is keeping you from losing weight? “She looked at me kind of funny and said, “Really?” She has the sweetest voice I wish you could of hear her say it in her southern voice.
Anyway, we went into a pretty long discussion about how lack of sleep affects weight loss, how many hours of sleep she should be getting, the supplement I use to help me get to sleep faster, and how it helps with recovery. I thought it was a really great conversation and I wished I would have been recording it to share with you. Since it was not recorded I thought the next best thing would be to sit down and write down everything we talked about to help you!
How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Weight Loss?
For many years the focus on weight loss had been on diet and exercise. However, probably within the last two decades a lot of emphasis and research has been done on sleep. Researchers have discovered that the lack of sleep can have many bad effects on one’s health. And one such finding is that lack of sleep can affect weight loss and actually lead to weight gain. One such study looked at sleep quality and quantity amongst women and found that, individuals who report fewer total hours of sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. This was according to the Jounal of Obesity.
One of the main reasons for the cause of weight gain can be attributed to two hormones in the body. Specifically, Ghrelin and Leptin. These two hormones shape and signal our appetite and hunger. Leptin decreases hunger and ghrelin increases hunger. Now here is how both these hormones affect weight gain. Essentially what research has found is when you get fewer than 5 hours a sleep a night your body will increase gherkin levels and lower leptin levels. This creating the cycle of your body craving more high calorie dense foods, which can lead to weight gain. In fact, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sleep-deprived participants ate an average of 300 more calories per day. And another study that was conducted found that those who only spent four hours in bed for five consecutive nights gained almost two pounds more than those who were in bed for about 10 hours, over the course of a week.
So, as you can see through some of the research sleep plays a role in weight loss and weight gain but how much sleep do you need each night to help with your weight loss efforts.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need to Lose Weight?
As we have already mentioned diet and exercise is not the only way to help facilitate your weight loss efforts. Sleep plays a big role due to your body releasing the hormones Gherlin and Leptin. Your hunger hormones. But how much sleep do you actually need to lose weight. Well, what the research and findings show one should get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. In fact, a recent study, published in the journal Sleep, looked at the sleep patterns and BMI of 1,000 twins. On average they found that the average hours of sleep was 7.2, which falls in line with the recommended hours a night. What the study also showed was that the people who slept less than 7 had a higher BMI than those who slept closer to nine.
So, the lesson here is to start getting more sleep at night. Or at least closer to nine hours if you want to help facilitate your weight loss efforts. Now, you may be asking. ” but I try to sleep and just can’t so what should I do?”
Will Taking Supplements Help with Sleep?
It is estimated that anywhere from 50-70 million people suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. And of that number 40% of 40-59 years old suffer from short sleep duration while 35% report they get less than the 7 hours required in a typical 24 hour period. I was one of them and if you follow my posts I wrote a post called the “12 Simple Hacks for Better Sleep”
In that post one of the hacks I mention is to take a supplement. Research has shown that taking certain B vitamins like B2 and B6 can help support normal neurotransmitter and hormone functions (including the production and conversion of melatonin). Also, taking Melatonin, which is produced in the brain, helps usher the onset of the body’s natural circadian sleep cycle. The other two you can take to help facilitate your sleep is, GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid): This neurotransmitter inhibits nerve activity in the brain, allowing it to slowly relax, and supports its normal sleep cycle and NAC (N-acetylcysteine): This amino acid decreases levels of glutamate, another amino acid that encourages alertness in the brain. NAC also stimulates the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant enzyme.
I always recommend to try and get all your vitamins and nutrients from natural food sources but unfortunately, we don’t get all we need from the food we eat due to lack of absorption and poor nutrient quality with the food that is produced and distributed to us. That is one reason to take a supplement. And if you are looking for one that is an all natural sleep supplement you can check out the one I personally take and recommend to all my clients here ( I am a distributor of the product).
If you are struggling to lose weight and want to help facilitate your weight loss then take a look at how many hours you are sleeping each night. Trust me, you not only will help with your weight loss efforts but you will have more energy throughout the day, which in turn will allow you to be more active and burn more calories.