One of the most popular questions that we get from people looking to shed some extra pounds is: “Does weight loss occur during sleep?”
Yes, we all know the benefits of sleep for your overall health and wellbeing.
But, is it true that the dream weight loss recipe is backed by a good night’s sleep?
If you’ve ever wondered if sleep can actually help you reach your fitness goals quickly, then this article is for you.
Keep reading to discover what recent studies have to say about this topic.
Why Sleep Is Crucial For Your Health?
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and general well-being throughout your life.
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and energy levels.
That being said here are 5 reasons why good night sleep is so important.
Poor sleep can lead to depression
Sleeping disorders and poor quality sleep are the main factors of mental health issues, such as depression.
Those with sleeping disorders like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.
So, getting enough quality sleep is crucial to keep your mood in check.
Sleep Strengthens Your Immune System
Getting a good night’s sleep can help to keep your immune system healthy and keep germs at bay.
Sleep supports the proteins and cells of your immune system to detect and destroy any foreign invaders your body might come into contact with, like the common cold.
So a good night’s sleep helps to strengthen your body’s immune response, and it’s essential to allow yourself time to rest and recover when you’re not feeling well.
Good Sleep Can Enhance Your Productivity
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function including concentration and productivity.
And all of them are negatively affected by sleep deprivation.
In fact, a study found that short sleep can negatively impact some aspects of brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication.
On the other hand, good night sleep has been shown to enhance memory performance and increase the energy levels of both children and adults.
Sleep Helps the Body Repair Itself
Yes, sleep is a time to relax, but it’s also a time during which the body is hard at work repairing your muscle tissues or recovering from the damage caused by stress and other harmful exposure.
Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping.
These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage.
Poor Sleep is Associated With Weight Gain
People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get ample sleep.
In fact, studies show that short sleep duration is one of the main factors of obesity.
The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to workout.
Which leads us to the next question.
Does Weight Loss Occur During Sleep?
YES! Interestingly, recent studies suggest that sleep may be the missing factor for many people who are struggling to lose weight.
We all know that the most common suggestion when it comes to the best way to achieve a healthy weight is to “eat less and move more”.
But it’s not that simple, or even that accurate.
Sometimes you feel that you’re doing everything right, from meal preparing and eating healthy low-calorie foods to exercising and staying active all day, but it just seems impossible to drop those unwanted pounds. Can you relate?
But, there is a higher chance that you might be missing a piece of the puzzle.
Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough.
Or maybe and more importantly, you don’t realize that sleep is the key to being rewarded for all your diet and fitness efforts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 30% of adults don’t get enough sleep.
Add this to the identical obesity statistics, and Voila!
You can easily connect the dots and discover that the connection between sleep and weight loss is not a coincidence.
How Does Sleep Affect Weight Loss?
Poor Sleep Can Increase Your Appetite
Sleep impact two important hunger hormones. When you do not get adequate sleep, the body makes more ghrelin and less leptin.
Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain. Levels are high before you eat, which is when the stomach is empty, and low after you eat.
Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells. It suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain, leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite.
Many studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived report having an increased appetite this is likely due to sleeping’s effect on hunger hormones.
Poor Sleep Can Increase Your Calorie Intake
Poor quality sleep increases your appetite as a result it will do the same thing to your calorie intake.
People who don’t get enough sleep tend to consume more calories.
This increase in calories may be due to increased appetite and portion sizes, as mentioned above.
However, it may also simply be from an increase in the time spent awake and available to eat.
Moreover, some studies on sleep deprivation have found that a large portion of the excess calories was consumed as snacks after dinner.
Meaning that sleep can also affect your food choices.
Lack Of Sleep Affects Your Metabolism
Metabolism is the process by which the body converts calories to energy and sleep disruption has been known to have harmful effects on it.
Research suggests that poor sleep makes the body’s metabolism work less effectively, leaving more unexpended energy to be stored in the body as fat.
Quality Sleep Can Enhance Energy Levels
If we go back to the earlier suggestion “eat less, move more”, then quality sleep is a no brainer, since it means higher energy levels which result in better performance at the gym or doing daily activities.
On the other side, lack of sleep may decrease your exercise motivation, volume, intensity and you’re more likely to get tired earlier during physical activity.
Sleep Helps You Make Healthy Choices
Studies show that sleep deprivation will actually dull activity in the frontal lobe of the brain.
The frontal lobe is in charge of decision-making and self-control. In addition, it appears that the reward centers of the brain are more stimulated by food when you are lack sleep.
Furthermore, research has found that when you’re sleep deprived your affinity for foods that are high in calories, carbs, and fat will increase.
Poor sleep can decrease your self-control and decision-making abilities and can increase the brain’s reaction to food.
How To Lose Weight While You Sleep?
The scientists speculated that the best way to cut down on calorie intake might be simply to get more sleep.
That means that just a few simple tweaks to your p.m. routine can mean serious weight loss success.
Without further ado, here are 5 science-backed suggestions to lose while you snooze.
Stretch and Meditate Before Sleep
Doing some poses before bed can have a powerful influence on sleep quality because of yoga’s focus on breathing and meditation.
A new paper published in the journal Experimental Physiology found that nighttime workouts do not disrupt sleep.
And over time they can also reduce levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which could help with weight loss.
Eat Protein Foods Before Sleeping
Something like a protein shake may boost your metabolism.
Moreover, protein is more thermogenic than carbs or fat, meaning your body burns more calories digesting it.
Drink Tea More Often
Some people experience a calming effect after drinking a warm, cup of tea before bedtime.
Best teas for sleep are chamomile, peppermint, lavender and valerian, which actually does have some sedative properties
Limit Your Night-time snacking
While you shouldn’t go to bed starving, you also shouldn’t hit the sack completely stuffed.
When you eat a large meal before bed, your body is working to digest it long into the night, and if your body is still worked up, so are you.
Try to keep portions about the same as your breakfast and lunch, especially if you eat dinner on the later side.
Switch To Night Lights
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a great night’s sleep, it may also result in weight gain.
Study subjects who slept in the darkest rooms were 21% less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms.
Conclusion – Sleep and Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight, make sure that you are getting sufficient sleep in addition to following a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise program.
Poor sleep affects negatively how your body responds to food.
Your appetite will increase and you will unlikely to resist temptations and control portions.
What makes things worse is that it can become a vicious cycle.
The less you sleep, the more weight you gain, and the more weight you gain, the harder it is to sleep.
On the other side, establishing healthy sleep habits can help your body maintain a healthy weight.
While there’s no hard number that applies to all people, for most of us, getting enough sleep means you’ll need 7 hours or more a night.
Yes, between work, family, and all responsibilities, it can be difficult to get enough sleep every night.
But if you really want to be healthy and stay in shape, make your nightly shuteye a priority.