Trying to get the recommended 7-9 hours sleep per night can be challenging for some but can it really impact on fat loss efforts? Most evidence seems to suggest that it’s true. Lack of sleep really can impact weight loss efforts whether it makes you more likely to overeat, reach for the wrong foods or tamper with your fat metabolism. The evidence is in and we share our top tips on getting a good nights shut eye
Why does sleep impact weight loss?
One study specifically looking at dieters trying to lose weight found some reasons on why sleep is so important when it comes to fat loss. More than half the weight lost by dieters in the study on a full night’s sleep was in fact fat. However when cutting back on their sleep, only ¼ of their weight loss came from fat stores. This study also found when sleep deprived, the dieters felt hungrier.
It found that when sleep restricted the dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure.
So just how do you make sure that sleep is not hindering your weight loss efforts?
Tips to help you sleep
- Try for at least a minimum of 6 hours sleep. If you set your alarm for 6am, you should aim to be in bed and asleep by midnight as a minimum (although note sleep requirements do vary with age, so it’s worth checking the recommended amounts of sleep for your specific age group).
- For those nights that you just can’t get to sleep (or enough), prioritise sleep in your other days; weekends or days that you have a chance to catch up.
- Set the right environment. There are good sleep habits and bad ones! Choose a dark, cool environment with no electronics or screen use such as phones or tablets. The blue and white lights given off by phones or televisions prevent the brain releasing melatonin: the main hormone involved in the body’s regulation of sleep-wake cycles.
- Avoid drinks containing alcohol and caffeine in the evenings before sleep. Sounds simple enough but these really can affect both the quality and quantity of sleep.
- Relieve some tension. Stretching, yoga or meditation are good practices before bed. Your body and mind will take on a lot of tension during the day, leaving you feeling stiff or wired and unable to relax.