Countering Weight Gain via Sleep
by Jennifer Heath - Freelance Writer
It's common knowledge that diet and exercise are vital components of weight loss. However, there's another key element about dieting that those who are trying to lose weight often forget. This element is so important that if you don't get enough of it, diet and exercise won't be as effective in your weight loss regimen.
Sleeping less than 7 hours every night can reduce the benefits of dieting.
In a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine (AIM), it was mentioned that sleeping less than 7 hours every night can reduce, or even undo, the benefits of dieting. The AIM conducted their study by putting a controlled group of dieters on different sleep schedules. Those who had enough rest burned a good amount of fat. However, those who were deprived of sleep, lost only half of the fat they were supposed to burn even though everyone was on the same diet regimen.
In addition, the test participants who were sleep deprived felt hungrier, and were less satisfied after the meals. They also lacked the energy to exercise. At the end of the study, those who lacked sleep had a 55% reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts.
The study on sleep's correlation with weight loss is backed up by several fitness experts, including Jim White, who is a national spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics as well as an advisor for Men's Fitness magazine.
"Your muscles recover during sleep – you can’t get truly to a high level of fitness without enough sleep." - Jim White
"...I often get calls from publications looking for advice on how to eat right and be healthy in general," said White in his interview with Leesa."...both things (exercise and sleep) are so important to your health. It was a hard choice, but when it comes down to it, there’s just so much research behind the idea that sleep is beneficial. When you’re tired you’re less likely to work out, and your body produces more of the hunger hormone leptin, which can lead to overeating."
Another reason why importance is placed on getting the recommended amount of sleep by dieticians and fitness experts is because it also reduces cravings for unhealthy food. In a publication by Nature Communications, a team of scientists put 23 healthy, non-obese people through sleep-related tests. In the first experiment, the test participants got a full, 8-hour sleep. In the second experiment, they were deprived of rest. The following day, they were placed under a brain scanner and asked how desirable certain food items were to them. After a full night rest, the test participants chose healthier food items. But after waking up sleep deprived, most of the test participants craved for junk food. The area of the brain that is in charge of making rational decisions such as choosing healthy food options was repressed.
In the long run, sleep can positively affect several things in terms of your wellbeing.
With enough sleep, you will be able to maintain a well balanced diet at all times because you will prevent yourself from craving unhealthy food. In addition, sleep helps you burn fat faster. By sleeping for 7 - 8 hours a day, paired with healthy diet and exercise, you will be able to achieve your target weight in no time.
If you're having problems sleeping, Just Breathe Mag has an article on "7 Tips To Help Encourage Healthy Sleep". It presents holistic ways on how you can sleep faster at night such as bringing relaxing scents into your bedroom. When you have enough sleep, you will have the energy to exercise the next day -- a nice, short-term effect that you'll be able to notice straight away when you're well-rested.
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