Need to lose weight? Let me tell you a secret: don’t just count calories; you might want to count sheep as well. How’s that?
Latest studies have proved that sleep deprivation disrupts a series of metabolism and hormonal processes. What it does is that it actually increases your hunger and affects the body’s metabolism making it difficult for you to lose and control weight. There is a hormone called cortisol, which controls the appetite. Lack of sleep can actually cause cortisol to take excess calories and store them as excess body fat.
In addition, sleep loss interferes with metabolism of carbohydrates, which can cause high levels of blood glucose. The excess amount of glucose stimulates the overproduction of insulin, which can lead to diabetes or even obesity.
Furthermore, lack of sleep will promote weight gain by affecting your behavior. You see, those people who lack sleep tend to crave for sweets and high carbohydrate, high fat food that has very low nutrient value. They are more likely to eat chips, pastries, fries, burgers, soft drinks etc… Althought this short-term rise in blood sugar brought on by these snacks can give you surge of energy, your body does not need those extra calories at all, and they have to be stored as body fat.
However, these calories are not very easily shed than taken. When people are sleep deprived, they are too tired to exercise or they work out less intensely than usual. They just feel exhausted and they lack the energy and motivation to do even simple exercises. Those people would rather go to sleep or eat, than do something physical. In the meantime, the calories that are gained and not easily burned are deposited in the body as fat.
We are all different, so some people require less hours of sleep to be in top condition during the day, while others may need more than 10 hours of sleep! Experts agree that most people today need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to give themselves enough energy to exercise, eat right and keep off those unwanted pounds. Still, according to National Sleep Foundation, only 30% of adults get 8 or more hours of sleep on weeknights, while 52% do on weekends. One third of adults sleep no more than 6.5 hours nightly.
In the US and in the industrialized world, one of the main reasons that people are getting overweight is disruption in the sleeping patterns! People should start making some big behavioral and lifestyle changes now for a better and healthier tomorrow.