Looking to shed some of the excess weight you picked up throughout the holiday season? If so, chances are you’re getting to the gym regularly and making sure that you’re watching each piece of food you put into your mouth. You are on the right track. But as you go about the weight loss process, one thing that you must be sure you don’t overlook is the power of sleep. If you’re only clocking 5-6 hours of sleep each night, this could be one major factoring preventing your weight loss success.
Here are the ways in which lack of sleep interferes with weight loss.
First, those who don’t sleep enough at night may actually start to experience a reduced total daily metabolic rate. Meaning, you don’t burn as many calories on a daily basis as you were before. Since total weight loss results come down to calories consumed versus calories expended, this can translate into slower progress. In some cases, if the slow down is significant enough and you’re only using a modest calorie reduced diet, it could be enough to wipe out all your results overall.
Reduced Insulin Sensitivity
Next, you’ll also suffer from reduced insulin sensitivity. This means that your body cells aren’t as receptive to the hormone insulin when it’s secreted after eating carbohydrate rich foods. In this scenario, not only will you be at a higher risk of developing diabetes, but you’ll also be more prone to converting any carbohydrates you do eat into body fat stores. Clearly an unwanted event if fat loss is your goal.
To make matters even worse, when you’re low on sleep, you’ll be suffering from serious carbohydrate cravings. Basically you’ll want to eat carbohydrate rich foods 24-7. Your body knows that these foods – especially simple, sugar laden carbs – are the fastest way to bring your energy levels up, so this is what it prompts you to eat. Due to the nature of these types of foods, you’ll get a sudden surge of energy, followed very quickly by a giant crash, which now only leads to more food consumed. This factor combined with the reduced insulin sensitivity basically means that you’re on a one-way street to body fat gain.
Finally, the last problem is low energy. As you’ve likely experienced before, if you come off a night of very little sleep, the last thing that you’ll feel like doing is hitting the gym. You may choose to skip a workout or two and this in turn means slower progress as a result. Additionally, those who are tired tend to have less mental tenacity to stick with their healthy eating plan and are more likely to fall off the bandwagon on their low-energy days.
So hopefully now you can see just how powerful sleep really is in the overall weight loss equation. If you want to see optimal results, make sure that you are getting at least 7, preferably 8-9 hours each night while on that diet plan.