Adequate sleep is an important part of our overall health. A well-rested person not only thinks and feels better, but also lives a better lifestyle compared to another who is constantly sleep-deprived.
The benefits of getting the right amount of sleep, however, go beyond refreshing your mind, lifting your mood, or brandishing dark under eye circles. It also helps prevent unnecessary weight gain and the life-threatening health conditions that usually come with it such as diabetes, heart diseases, and respiratory problems.
Most, if not all, weight loss advice out there mention sleep as a significant weight loss factor. Significant as its role is, however, it is often undervalued. Many people fail to see the importance of getting adequate sleep as an important step to achieving a slimmer and healthier body.
A study conducted by Wake Forest University researchers show that Inadequate amount of sleep is linked to fat gain. The subjects of the study were men and women between ages of 18 and 81. Those who reported that they typically slept for a maximum of 5 hours each night gained a hefty 32% in visceral fat, while those who slept more than 8 hours each night gained 13% abdominal fat.
As to why too little sleep affect one’s weight, researchers and experts have different theories.
The most common and logical is that those who are sleep-deprived do not have the energy to exercise. Worse, the need to grab a cup of coffee or a donut may become instinctive for that much-needed energy boost at work. The less hours of sleep you have, the more calories from comfort foods you’ll consume.
On the more scientific side, lack of sleep will affect the body’s production of hormones called ghrelins and leptins. When you are sleep-deprived, the body produces more ghrelins and less leptins.
Ghrelins tell you when to eat, so you can only imagine the vicious effect the abundance of supply of these hormones can do to your body.
Leptins, on the other hand, tell you when to stop eating. If there is less of these hormones than the normal amount in your body, then you could end up consuming more calories than you ought to.
If ghrelins and leptins will have their way, you could be eating non-stop!
Too much sleep also has the same adverse effect on your body, though not necessarily on the same level. Weight gain due to oversleeping can be attributed to the fact that you spend less time being active.
If you are serious in losing unwanted fat – especially in your abdominal area – then you’d want to get rid of bad sleeping habits.
If you normally sleep 5 hours or less each night, strive to meet the 7-hour mark. If you sleep more than 7-8 hours a night, make it a habit to start waking early.
You’ll be amazed how minor changes in your daily habits can result in significant improvements in your weight.