How Your Sleep Habits Make or Break Your Weight Loss Journey

The journey to weight loss is not linear, and sleep habits plays a huge role in it.

Many people complain that no matter how hard they try, they constantly feel hungry and cannot resist their cravings. Genetics or a stressful environment might have less to say than an element you’re maybe overlooking, that is poor sleep.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 18-60 years old people should sleep at least 7 hours every night.

If you don’t get adequate hours of sleep, your metabolism will slow down for energy conservation. It will also intervene with your diet, training, and other daily tasks.

And, unfortunately, overdosing on caffeine will not make up for all the crucial functions sleep has for our wellbeing.

A healthy lifestyle goes beyond exercise and nutrition, and regular, quality sleep is the backbone of it.

Insufficient Sleep Undoes the Benefits of Dieting

Adequate sleep contributes to maintaining fat-free body mass while on a calorie deficit. Studies show that insufficient sleep compromises the efficiency of dietary interventions for weight loss.

Weight Gain Over Time and Increased Obesity Risk

People often justify their low sleep hours with the job they do, their dreams, and their ambition. ‘Sleep is for the weak’.

But studies show that sleep is actually for healthy and fit people who like to recover so they can grind even better than yesterday.

A 16 years’ long study observed the connection between lack of sleep and weight gain in nurses with different schedules. It concluded that short sleep duration is associated with a modest increase in future weight gain and incident obesity.

Increase in Appetite

Sleep is one of the most important regulators of hormones in our body, also those related to appetite: leptin and ghrelin.

Various studies observed that sleeping less lowers the level of appetite hormones resulting in appetite increase and cravings.

Hence, sleep reduction will lead to hunger and eating more to compensate for the energies needed due to the lack of rest and recovery.

Increase in Calorie Consumption

Less sleep = more time to eat.

Easy as that! And it is scientifically proved.

Different studies discovered that people consume more calories on days when they sleep less. In addition, those sleepless days included more snacks and bigger portions.

Make Unhealthy Food Choices

Apart from increasing appetite, the lack of sleep affects the way we see food as well.

Feeling constantly tired, to the degree that we don’t know if it comes from our sleepless hours, we try to find other ways to console ourselves and feel better.

High-calorie carbs and fat-dense foods give that serotonin hit that we need to carry on with our day, so it will become easy to overindulge in them and exceed the calorie deficit.

Lack of Sleep Interferes with your Physical Exercise

One benefit of regular exercise is building muscle mass, which increases the resting metabolism rate (RMR) allowing to burn more calories during the day. More muscle means you will be able to eat more and help your weight loss further.

But if you deprive yourself of sleep, you’re dismantling all the hard work during your training for many reasons.

During sleep, the muscle tissues damaged during exercise get repaired, and if we don’t sleep 7-8 hours every night, we might lose muscle mass. On the other hand, muscles burn more calories at rest than fat does, so when muscle mass is lost, resting metabolic rates decrease.

In addition, the RMR decreases to help the human body conserve energy to make up for the lack of rest.

Another way poor sleep hinders your training is through your moods. Lack of sleep will make you feel sluggish and heavy, resulting in poor performance during training. You will get tired faster, and your motivation levels will drop significantly.

Sleep Curtailment Undermines an Overall Healthy Lifestyle

Added Stress and Foggy Brain

The cortisol levels suffer a spike when the human body doesn’t sleep enough, leading to tiredness, grumpiness, and stress. The stress hormone has frequently been associated with fat gain as well.

And stress is not the best mood to be in when you want to lose weight. It will lead you to not focus on your goals, not handle the hunger and challenge your healthy choices.

A study showed that acute sleep loss enhances hedonic food stimulus- making you surrender to your cravings.

If you don’t make resting well a habit, you don’t have the mental clarity to make good complex decisions, specifically about the foods you eat. Add to this the time you have been in a calorie deficit; you’ll easily fall back into your unhealthy habits.

Because of the foggy head, sleep might interfere with your weight loss journey or healthy habits without your awareness.

Thus, from just one habit, that of not sleeping enough, we spiral into other unhealthy habits as well.

How to Build a Healthy Sleep Habit for Good

Quality sleep doesn’t come easy to all people because of stress and many other reasons. If you’re used to a very irregular routine, getting back on track might be difficult.

Below are some steps to follow:

  • Decide on a strict schedule; Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Sleep in the dark environment.
  • Follow a nightly routine- Find out how you can fall asleep soon: silence, white noise, or your favorite sitcom.
  • Take care of the hygiene and comfort of your bed.
  • Stay away from your phone.
  • Calm your mind, don’t overthink. Going to bed is all about sleep, not debating with yourself. You can reduce your stress with meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Stay hydrated but don’t drink a lot of water before sleep, so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night, thus interrupting your rest.
  • Take melatonin (the sleep hormone) supplements or foods such as wild cherry, kiwi, fatty fish, milk, and nuts.
  • Eat the heaviest meals earlier in the day will allow your body to digest them and hit the sleeping mood when the night comes.
  • Eat more fiber foods and less saturated fat because studies show that this will improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol, heavy meals, and caffeine in the evening hours.

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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