When we are trying to lose weight, we are always so focused on exercising and eating right. Often, we lose out on the most important thing which is also resting our body well. For any exercise or diet to be effective, you need to give your body enough time to recover. Therefore having a sleep cycle is vital to support all your fitness goals.
Let us explore the impact that your sleep cycle has on weight loss.
Sleep Loss and Bad Decisions
When we talk about bad decisions with respect to weight loss, we are looking primarily at the lifestyle choices that we make. When you fail to sleep on time or don’t sleep enough, the frontal lobe of the brain becomes dull and less active. This is the part of the brain that focuses on impulse-control and decision making. If you have felt foggy and low after a night of very little sleep, this is the reason.
In addition to this, you are also tired. So the reward centres in the brain go on overdrive just to make you do something that will make you feel good, even if it is only momentary. The result is that you find yourself reaching out for an extra slice of cake. On normal days, you are able to tell yourself to stop at one because your brain is well-rested and is taking the right decisions.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition clearly showed that people with a poor sleep schedule are more prone to late-night snacking or eating larger portions of meals. Additionally, the cravings for high-carb and sugary foods increase because your body needs to recover quickly from the fatigue.
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The Effect of Sleep on Metabolism
If you are trying to lose weight, you already know about the importance of good metabolism. When you do not have a good sleep cycle, the first thing to get affected is your metabolism. When you sleep less, there is a spike in the hormone called cortisol. This is the stress hormone. If the levels are higher, the body goes into a survival mode. One of the most important activities that take place in the body is the conservation of fat in order to keep you fuelled when you are awake. Even the best diet and exercise fails if you do not sleep on time, and sleep enough.
Research shows that cutting back on sleep for just 14 days, the fat loss dropped by 55%. People did not feel as hungry. They did not even feel satisfied after a meal. The result is a total energy drain. The University of Chicago published a study which shows that only four days of sleep deprivation can reduce the body’s ability to process the hormone insulin. This is responsible for converting sugar into energy. The result is that the unprocessed sugar gets stored in the body as fat.
As a result, when you do not manage your sleep schedule, metabolism tends to go haywire, causing faster weight gain.
Tips to Balance Your Sleep Cycle
If you are unable to sleep on time or get enough sleep, there are some simple things that you can try:
- Make sure you turn off all devices at least one hour before you get to bed.
- Your bedroom must not be used for working or entertainment. This space must be reserved for rest so that your brain can be tricked into falling asleep.
- Create some bedtime ritual of your own. Reading, taking a bath or sleeping is most beneficial in helping you sleep on time.
- Maintain a strict sleep schedule. Make sure you go to bed at the same time every day, no matter what. This includes the weekends.
- Avoid alcohol consumption before going to sleep. Alcohol causes heartburn, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
- Avoid any caffeinated drinks post 2 pm if you generally have trouble sleeping.
- Keep all the lights out. Being in the dark releases the sleep hormone melatonin which help improve your sleep cycle.
Of course, when you are well-rested, you also have more energy to work out and exercise. You will always be in a positive frame of mind which will make it easier for you to stick to your weight loss routines and schedules.