What’s sleep I hear you ask? No doubt there are parents all over the world asking the same question. Sleep for me certainly isn’t what it used to be, mainly because I try to do it with one eye and one ear open. But that’s having kids for you. The thing is, sleep is important for many reasons, but one thing that you might not realise is that in actual fact, sleep affects your weight.
How Does Sleep Affect Your Weight?
When you’re short on sleep, it can be easy to turn to things like energy drinks and frothy lattes to fuel up to see you through the day. There is a good chance that you will be tempted to skip the gym or accidentally forget to go for a run because you are just too tired. Can’t be bothered to cook? You get a takeaway and before you know it, you’ve piled on a few extra pounds. Can you see where this is going?
Research has found that when people are starved of sleep, late-night snacking increases. When we are awake late at night we are more likely to choose high-carb snacks. Couple this with the lack of exercise, it’s no wonder that the pounds can creep on if this is a regular occurrence.
Sleep deprivation can make you “metabolically groggy.” Within just 4 days of insufficient sleep, the body’s ability to process insulin goes awry. Insulin is needed to change sugar and starches into energy. Researchers found that after 4 days, Insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30%.
When your body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, your body can have difficulty processing fats from your bloodstream, and this results in your body storing them as fat.
To conclude, it isn’t so much that if you sleep you can lose weight, but if you don’t sleep your metabolism can be hampered and this, in turn, can lead to weight gain. It could be that you’re lacking in sleep through no fault of your own though, so read on for some tips on how to sleep better.
How To Sleep Better
I need to take my own advice here. No screens for an hour before bedtime.
Have a sleep ritual. Think bath, book, bed – like children. It can relax adults too.
Get a decent mattress. You can find brilliant mattress deals on Groupon. A decent mattress could be the answer to all of your sleeping problems.
Try waking up and going to bed at the same time each day, even on the weekends. The routine will aid with a decent nights sleep.
Don’t leave the lights on. Darkness helps your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light will suppress it.
Written in collaboration
The research mentioned in this post was done by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the University of Chicago. All other medical facts are taken from WebMD.com