Ah, sleep! It’s wonderful when we can get enough of it, but always seems to be the thing we’re willing to cut back from our busy schedules.
Yet when it comes to functioning optimally and healthfully, your body requires a full night of rest – and not just one or two times a week.
A study by Nature Communications found that just one night of poor sleep can affect your body’s systems negatively, and mental function drops to that of someone under the influence of alcohol. Not feeling sleepy yet? Lack of sleep has also been linked to weight gain.
There is a common misconception that exercising more and eating less are the most important factors in weight loss.
However, recharging your body through relaxation and sleep is a big component that is often ignored. There always seem to be too many things to accomplish every day, and fitting in a full health regimen on top of that takes priority over eight hours of solid rest. When you compare this statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that over 35% of Americans are sleep deprived, then compare that with the percentage of people that are obese (around 35%), you may begin to change your mind about the importance of good sleep.
A research study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found when dieters had an adequate amount of rest each night (more than seven hours), half the weight they lost was from fat. In turn, they found that lack of sleep can reduce and even reverse the effectiveness of dieting all together.
Although willpower is an important factor in weight loss, it becomes considerably more difficult when we aren’t getting enough sleep. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published research that found negative effects in the hormones that control hunger and appetite associated with lack of sleep.
Ready to start turning in a little earlier now?
It’s understandable that it may be difficult at first to change your routine. Here are a couple of tips that will help you get a better night’s sleep:
- Limit your episodes.
With streaming applications it’s easy to just watch “one more episode”. Even the CEO of Netflix admitted that their biggest competition is sleep. Allow a set amount of TV time each night, and stick to it.
- Cozy up a little earlier.
Always intend to be in bed by 10 p.m., but never seem to hit the pillow until around 11:30? Start your bedtime routine earlier than usual for the next few nights and see how that changes. Put on the PJ’s at 9 or 9:30 and you’ll already be mentally preparing yourself for sleep at an earlier time.
[Bornstein, Adam. “How to Lose Weight: Why Sleep Can Make You Fat.” Born Fitness.]