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Lose weight while you sleep? It sounds too good to be true—but there is a connection between how much you weigh and the amount of sleep at night that you get.
You have two hormones, ghrelin, and leptin, that help to control appetite. When you do not get enough rest, ghrelin hormones, which increase hunger, rise. Your levels of leptin, which help you feel full and satiated decrease. Those that are insomniacs and can’t sleep at night show that their levels of ghrelin and leptin are significantly thrown off. When you have this imbalance you will have an increase in appetite during the day, leading to bodyfat gain over time.
Double whammy, you have a hormone imbalance from not sleeping enough. Then due to your lack of sufficient sleep your stress hormone, cortisol is staying elevated. Cortisol causes cravings for high carb and high calorie foods. Your body sees out these “comfort foods” to try and ease stress and fatigue. Your metabolism and fat burning ability is also slowed significantly by the increase in cortisol.
Another thing about not sleeping enough is your growth hormone. When you get deep sleep your body will secrete growth hormone during that phase, which helps the body convert fat to fuel. Without enough deep sleep, fat deposits will accumulate, and growth hormone secretions decrease.
While there is no magic number of hours people should sleep. The average adult needs about 4-5, 90-minute sleep cycles every night, so 7-8 hours would be optimal. Sleep doesn’t impact the rate of weight loss, but it effects where that weight loss is coming from, muscle or fat. You’d rather lose the bodyfat and keep the muscle so that during your waking hours you are burning more fat too.
Now you’re saying that your busy schedule doesn’t allow for this much needed rest. Try evaluating your daily habits and schedule sleep just as you would a client or appointment. You’re scheduling workouts into your day so why not make the most out of that workout by scheduling your sleep as well. Create a nighttime routine that you stick to so that you can wind down, lower stress and fall into that deep sleep sooner.
You won’t lose weight just be getting better sleep. However, sleep goes hand in hand with diet and exercise. More sleep = less fat and more muscle.