Why Sleep Is Important for Losing Weight


Woman Can't Fall Asleep

Like it or not, sleep impacts every part of your life. Besides the obvious impact on retaining stamina and energy throughout the day, a healthy sleep cycle supports hormone balance which impacts body weight and fat retention. The two hormones most impacted by restful sleep are ghrehlin and leptin. These two work hand-in-hand as ghrelin increases your appetite and leptin represses it. This balance is disrupted by a lack of sleep, more specifically ghrelin is increased and leptin is decreased, which can lead to weight gain.

So how do I get more sleep? Americans are working more hours than ever before. Between careers and family life, it often seems difficult to get the appropriate amount of sleep each night. In addition, many common prescriptions also impact our sleep cycles. So how can you get more sleep in your day? The first, and easiest, step to take is to set a bed time for yourself. This isn't just for the kids! Write down your set bed time and post it someplace visible, like on your refrigerator. Stick with it and stay committed to being in bed on time. This simple change should add at least 45 to 65 minutes of extra sleep each night.

What you put into your body before bed also has a big impact on sleep quality. Drinking fluids before bed can cause you to wake up for a trip to the restroom. And alcohol before bed should be avoided. While a "nightcap" may help you doze off faster, later in the night you may experience sweating, nightmares, and a rapid heartbeat disrupting your sleep cycle.

While staying up and watching TV before bed is common in our culture, this “relaxed pastime” keeps our brains active and delays the sleep cycle from starting. This habit can be difficult to break, so start a little at a time. Begin with a 30 minute break from technology before going to bed and you should notice a big difference immediately. Work up to longer time periods as you progress.

Establishing a healthy sleep cycle is key to your weight loss as it supports your efforts. Keep your hormones in check, give your muscles their needed recovery time, and make sleep a priority in your life.

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