Lose weight by sleeping? It may work

By Mina Radman • Published: February 26th, 2018
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Looking to shake off a few pounds? Make sure you sleep well. Studies have repeatedly found that not getting enough sleep makes it harder to lose weight and leads to weight gain.

It makes sense. After all, it’s hard to exercise when you’re exhausted. Perhaps you snooze past the alarm in the morning, making it impossible to fit in a workout. Throughout the day, you eat extra snacks to stay energized. After work, you’re too tired to hit the gym. On these days, you eat more calories, but you don’t burn them off. Over time, this cycle negative affects your waistline.

When you’re sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin, [grah-lin] the hormone that signals hunger, and less leptin, which tells you that you’re full. As a result, you eat more. One study found that the brain, when exhausted, reacts strongly to high-fat, high-carb foods and is not satiated with healthier options. To make matters worse, your metabolism slows down when you deprive yourself of sleep.

How much sleep do you need? On average, an adult should sleep at least seven hours per night. If your alarm goes off at 6 a.m., plan to be in bed by 10:30 p.m. Keep your bedtime consistent so that your body develops a sleep cycle. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon so you’re not up all night, and stay away from TV and computer screens in the evening, which can trick your brain into staying awake.

If you’re getting enough hours of sleep but don’t feel rested, talk to your doctor. An underlying condition might prevent you from sleeping well.

Make a good night’s sleep a priority to reset your mind and body. It can also make your weight loss goals a reality.