The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8 hours of sleep per night. You’ve probably heard this hundreds of times before…but does it make you change your lifestyle to actually get 8 hours of sleep? Probably not. The CDC and a National Health Survey shows 30% of American’s 30-64 years of age are getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
If you’re constantly dieting but still struggling to lose fat, what if I said you could lose more fat by sleeping 8 hours per night. Now we’re talking! Research is showing that sleep loss is becoming a major cause in obesity and diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can manipulate key fat burning hormones in the body. This can affect insulin sensitivity (leading to insulin resistance), appetite control, and lowered energy levels. All leading causes of fat gain.
Insulin resistance is a symptom that can lead to type 2 diabetes and increased fat gain. When you’re insulin resistant, the body has to produce extra insulin to remove the glucose from the blood stream. With this increased insulin production, your pancreas can become damaged and not be able to continue producing enough insulin. This is when people need to start taking insulin medication which can really affect fat loss.
Ever notice the constant hunger and cravings for high carb, sugary food after a bad night’s sleep? In addition to affecting your insulin sensitivity, sleep deprivation can also cause a rise in your cortisol levels and other hormones that are linked to your hunger. Research shows that one sleepless night can cause a rise in cortisol. In the study, the group that only had 4 hours sleep showed a 37% rise in cortisol. The group that didn’t sleep at all showed a 45% rise in cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that negatively influences blood sugar levels and strips the body of muscle tissue by converting it to glucose. This can lower your metabolism due to the loss of muscle and cause fat gain, especially around the belly.
By being awake more, you also have more time to eat. This, in combination, to being tired, can lead you to eat more “ready to go” food options that are always low in nutrition and high in belly busting ingredients.
1. Stick to a regular bed time (even on weekends)
2. Avoid alcohol before bed
3. Sleep in a cool room with a temperature below 70 degrees F
4. Turn off the TV (better yet, don’t bring the TV in your bedroom)
5. Sleep in complete darkness
6. If all else fails, see a sleep doctor