It is time to snooze to lose! A lot happens while you are asleep. Your blood pressure drops, muscles become relaxed, blood supply is increased to your muscles and tissue growth and repair takes place. Your energy levels are replenished and your body releases hormones to keep everything balanced and in check.
What happens when you skimp on the ZZZs? Your body isn’t able to perform these essential tasks. First, you might notice being a little more tired, irritable or hungry. Eventually, your lack of sleep can show up on the scale.
Being sleep deprived makes it easier to skip exercise or dial the pizza delivery guy instead of cooking a healthy meal. Not getting enough sleep affects the activity in your brain’s frontal lobe, where you primarily make your decisions and control your impulses.
Insufficient sleep also affects your hunger and fullness hormones, causing you to easily overeat. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when it is time to eat, and when you are tired, your body will make more of it. Leptin tells your brain when you stop eating. If you didn’t get enough shut-eye, your leptin levels drop and you keep eating.
Also, watch what you eat before you hit the sack. Large or heavy meals can increase your risk of heartburn, making it even more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Plus, if you’re already tired, you are less likely to make a smart food choice so close to bedtime. Once you combine all of these forces, it becomes a vicious cycle that leads to unwanted pounds.
It’s time to break the cycle! Aim to get at least the minimum amount of recommended sleep each night needed for your age group:
|Recommended Hours of Sleep||Age Range|
|7-8 hours||65 years +|
|7-9 hours||18 – 64 years old|
|8-10 hours||14 – 17 years old|
|9-11 hours||6 – 13 years old|
Does this mean you can just sleep your way to skinny? Well, sort of. If you are sleeping the average of 7.5 hours each night, then you will most likely not see drastic weight loss by sleeping even more. But if you only log 5 hours of sleep every night, increasing it to 7 might help you drop the pounds. Either way, quality sleep is an important component of maintaining a healthy weight.