How often have you been told, “you snooze, you lose”?! However, in some cases ‘snooze to lose’ can be a good thing. Weight loss, for instance, as if you needed any more reasons to sleep in and catch some z’s.
When it comes to shifting those stubborn pounds, getting enough sleep is just as important as regular exercise is! (1)
But, in today’s fast-paced and high-stress world, we stay up too late, we wake up too early and, by doing this, we end up being unhealthy and overweight. The fact that up to 70 million people in the US and 45 million people in Europe have a chronic sleep disorder is alarming. Lack of sleep impacts daily functioning and health. (2) Mounting evidence shows that sleep may be the missing factor for many people who are struggling to lose weight.
Here are five factors why quality shut-eye is important for losing weight and improving overall health.
Sleep Deprivation May Boost Your Appetite
Several researchers have revealed that people who are sleep-deprived are reported said to have increased appetite (3, 4)
This is caused by two important hunger hormones; ghrelin and leptin (3). Ghrelin signals hunger in the brain. When the stomach is empty before you eat anything, the levels are high, and low after you eat (3, 5). Leptin, released from fat cells suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain (3).
People who don’t get an adequate amount of sleep experience reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin, which is responsible for increasing appetite and hence the BMI (3).
Quality Sleep Helps Fight Cravings
Poor sleep can alter the functionality of the brain, which results in making unhealthy food choices and may increase the propensity to overeat (6). Sleep deprivation will actually dull activity in the frontal lobe in the brain. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that is “in-charge” of decision-making and self-control. (7) Moreover, some studies have found that sleep deprivation can increase your affinity for foods that are high in carbs, fat, and calories (5, 8).
Lack of Sleep May Decrease Your Resting Metabolism
The RMR (Resting Metabolism Rate ), also called resting energy expenditure, is the number of calories your body burns when you’re completely at rest (9). A study published in Obesity (Silver Spring) showed that poor sleep may lower your RMR (10).
Another study including 15 men showed a 5% decrease in RMR when they were kept awake for 24 hours as compared to their regular night’s rest (11).
Sleep Can Enhance Physical Activities
There’s no doubt that lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue, making you feel less motivated to exercise. Plus, you are more prone to get tired earlier during physical activity (12).
For a study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed the lifestyles of 15 men and found that when the respondents were sleep-deprived, the amount and intensity of their physical activity decreased (13). Therefore, getting quality sleep may help your physical performance.
Quality Sleep Helps Manage Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Did you know if you do not sleep well, the cells of the body become insulin resistant? Insulin is a hormone that moves sugar from the bloodstream into the body’s cells to be used as energy. (14) When cells become insulin-resistant, more sugar remains in the bloodstream and the body produces more insulin to compensate (15). And this excess insulin makes you hungrier and signals the body to store more calories as fat, which might be a reason for both type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (16, 17, 18).
Lack of Sleep As a Risk Factor For Weight Gain
Sleep deprivation can cause weight gain and obesity as per the aforementioned factors. A study published by the National Institute of Health suggested that sleep deprivation is associated with a higher risk of obesity and weight gain (19). Another research has observed changes in weight when the participants got less than seven hours of sleep a night (20).
Therefore, getting quality sleep is as important as eating healthy and exercising for maintaining healthy weight. Poor sleep dramatically alters the way your body responds to food. While there’s no one-size-fits-all for the prescribed hours of sleep that a person may need, a good thumb rule is to try and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. This will help you lose body weight and also reduce the risk of numerous health issues.
If sleep is an elusive dream (pun intended) or, despite sleeping well, you are unable to lose weight, then you can join the SuperFood WeightLoss Accelerator program. This will help you lose weight and help promote your sense of overall well-being. Kick-start your weight loss journey and stay motivated for sustained long-term lifestyle changes.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- Chaput, Jean-Philippe, and Angelo Tremblay. “Adequate sleep to improve the treatment of obesity.” Cmaj. 184:18 (2012): 1975-1976. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519150/
- Medic, Goran, Micheline Wille, and Michiel EH Hemels. “Short-and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption.” Nature and science of sleep. 9 (2017): 151. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449130/
- Taheri, Shahrad, et al. “Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.” PLoS medicine. 1:3 (2004): e62. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
- Hanlon, Erin C., et al. “Sleep restriction enhances the daily rhythm of circulating levels of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol.” Sleep. 39:3 (2016): 653-664. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26612385
- Spiegel, Karine, et al. “Brief communication: sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite.” Annals of internal medicine. 141:11 (2004): 846-850. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15583226
- St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, et al. “Sleep restriction leads to increased activation of brain regions sensitive to food stimuli.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 95:4 (2012): 818-824. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22357722
- Wu, Joseph C., et al. “Frontal lobe metabolic decreases with sleep deprivation not totally reversed by recovery sleep.” Neuropsychopharmacology. 31:12 (2006): 2783. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16880772
- St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, et al. “Short sleep duration increases energy intakes but does not change energy expenditure in normal-weight individuals.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 94:2 (2011): 410-416. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715510
- McMurray, Robert G., et al. “Examining variations of resting metabolic rate of adults: a public health perspective.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 46:7 (2014): 1352. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4535334/
- Spaeth, Andrea M., David F. Dinges, and Namni Goel. “Resting metabolic rate varies by race and by sleep duration.” Obesity. 23:12 (2015): 2349-2356. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4701627/
- Benedict, Christian, et al. “Acute sleep deprivation reduces energy expenditure in healthy men.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 93:6 (2011): 1229-1236. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21471283
- Patel, Sanjay R., and Frank B. Hu. “Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review.” Obesity. 16:3 (2008): 643-653. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2723045/
- Schmid, Sebastian M., et al. “Short-term sleep loss decreases physical activity under free-living conditions but does not increase food intake under time-deprived laboratory conditions in healthy men.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 90:6 (2009): 1476-1482. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/90/6/1476/4598062
- Wilcox, Gisela. “Insulin and insulin resistance.” The Clinical biochemist. Reviews. 26:2 (2005): 19-39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1204764/
- “Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes”. NIH. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance
- Shanik, Michael H., et al. “Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia: is hyperinsulinemia the cart or the horse?.” Diabetes care. 31:Supplement 2 (2008): S262-S268. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18227495
- Lustig, R. H., et al. “Obesity, leptin resistance, and the effects of insulin reduction.” International Journal of obesity. 28:10 (2004): 1344. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15314628
- Crofts, Catherine Anne Price, et al. “Hyperinsulinemia: A unifying theory of chronic disease.” Diabesity. 1:4 (2015): 34-43. https://diabesity.ejournals.ca/index.php/diabesity/article/viewFile/19/61
- “Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain”. NIH. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-ties-between-lack-sleep-weight-gain
- Cappuccio, Francesco P., et al. “Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults.” Sleep. 31:5 (2008): 619-626. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2398753/