When you’ve got a bad sleep, everything the next day feels a little harder. Your brain is an auto-mode and any slightest thing that set it off its course will make you feel completely exhausted.
Despite that, you manage to get dressed and get yourself to work, and you’re faced with an obstacle like an angry boss, a multi-tasking activity or the expectation to train in a new colleague, and all these make you want to fall apart.
To get more energy, increase your motivation/productivity, you often turn to caffeine with the thinking culture that you “can’t function” without your morning coffee.
But sometimes even with that, it isn’t enough. And so, come 11 am, you need a cookie or a croissant to complement our coffee. Or lunchtime rolls around and you start feeling sorry for your sleep-deprived selves. You choose a burger and fries instead of the salad you know will leave you feeling a lot better than the food coma on which you’re currently on the brink.
Neither of these scenarios is useful if you’re trying to lose weight.
But don’t fret, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Because there’s a quick and easy way to stay in shape, which costs far less in terms of time and effort than fancy gym memberships or fad diets.
It’s called sleep.
How getting more sleep helps you shed some pounds…
1) Sleep changes your fat cells
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that, when you deprived yourself of adequate sleep, your fat cells will start suffering from something called ‘metabolic grogginess’. In English, that’s the body’s ability to use insulin properly.
When insulin does its job, the fat cells will remove fatty acids and lipids from the bloodstream.
But you’re sleep-deprived, your body will be less sensitive to insulin – by up to 30%, in some cases. This means that fat cells are less capable of releasing these fatty acids and lipids in the form of energy.
Instead, this unburnt fat and sugar remain in the bloodstream (keeping blood sugar levels high, and making sleep even harder) before the body converts them into tissue.
Or in layman’s terms, the fat that you don’t use as energy due to sleep-deprivation becomes fat on your bodies instead. Bummer.
So get more sleep, and let your insulin convert all those fatty acids as it should. You’ll feel more energized and less weighed down as a result.
2) Sleep affects your hormones
As well as your insulin, sleep produces another hormone called serotonin (aka, the ‘happy hormone’). When we wake up with lots of serotonin in our systems we feel nice and relaxed, more inclined to make a healthy breakfast instead of dashing to get a donut and coffee fix-in before work.
Another hormone you should appreciate it work is leptin, or the ‘obesity hormone’ because it actually reduces your appetite.
With high levels of leptin, you won’t find yourself waking in the middle of the night craving a grilled cheese sandwich, or needing a giant stack of pancakes for breakfast. Neither will you feel the need to carb up on high-calorie, ‘comfort foods’ during the day to keep you warm and energized.
Sleep will give you all the energy you need!
Unlike leptin, you’ll like less of the ‘fat hormone’ ghrelin hanging around. It makes us hungrier, and downright ‘h-angry’ at times. Sleep actually reduces our ghrelin levels; so we become less of a demon upon finding out that our darling partner polished off the cereal last night. Ouch.
Hormones can play havoc with our mood, and our eating patterns. But getting enough sleep on a consistent basis helps us to keep them nice ‘n’ steady. Good news for you, and for anyone that crosses your path, really!
3) Sleep helps you make healthier choices
It’s the burger vs salad scenario that I mentioned earlier. When you don’t get enough sleep, you resort to making snap decisions, which aren’t often the healthiest.
On the other hand, when you feel well-rested, you take your time. Your cognitive ability is actually improved, too – so when you do make a decision, those neural connections lead you to make a smart one.
You’ll be more likely to eat healthier, to exercise regularly and to generally make choices that keep you in better physical and mental shape.
Is it time for bed yet?!
No matter where you lay your head down at night, or how you choose to do it, sleep is one of the simplest ways to help you lose weight.
So get to bed early tonight, enjoy a great night’s sleep, and wake up a healthier, happier person in the days that follow.
The article was written by Sarah Cummings, an Editor in Chief for The Sleep Advisor.