When we eat well and train hard we expect to lose weight. For some, weight loss can occur rapidly without almost any struggle. In others, it can be a long-fought battle often leaving us confused, frustrated and disheartened. But is there more to the story than just eating well and exercising that we aren’t putting into consideration?
It’s common knowledge that a good night’s sleep restores our energy levels to help us power through those busy days, but did you know that sleep also plays a crucial role in our body composition? This is less well known.
The Link Between Sleep and Weight Loss
There’s a strong link between sleep and regulation of ghrelin and leptin, key hormones in your body for appetite control. Ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone” is released by the body to increase appetite. Many studies have shown that those who have inadequate sleep have higher levels of this hormone circulating in their bodies. Leptin, the “satiety” hormone, usually suppresses those feelings of hunger.
When we are sleep deprived, not only is more ghrelin made, but less leptin is also produced, amplifying those effects of hunger even if we aren’t truly hungry. A few days of overeating won’t have a huge impact on your body composition goals, but over a long period of time this can accumulate and contribute towards weight gain.
But it doesn’t stop there. Poor sleep severely affects your decision making abilities and self-control. This can lead to making food choices that don’t align with our goals. Think high fat, high sugar foods that can easily ramp up your daily calorie intake that you are more prone to eat when you are tired.
When was the last time you were exhausted and felt like going to the gym? The last thing our tired selves want is to workout. This means when we are tired, not only are we likely to be consuming more energy (calories) but also expend less, further inhibiting our weight loss goals.
Clock in Those Z’s
A good nights sleep does more than keep those bags under our eyes at bay. It regulates our hunger hormones, improves our decision-making abilities and increases the likelihood of regular exercise.
To help you achieve your health and fitness goals, get comfy, get cosy and get some sleep.
Written by Madeline Parsons, BNSc & Luke Edmonds
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely an opinion by The Body Factory or representative thereof and do not take into account your individual health, circumstances or needs. For personal guidance, you should contact us or other qualified fitness or health professional.