SLEEP TO LOSE WEIGHT?! I have been reading a lot lately about how sleep can help with weight loss. More specifically, lack of sleep can make it harder to lose weight. WHAAAAAAAAAAAT????
I know that sleep is important, but I always struggle to make it a priority. I have so many things that I want or need to do when I’m not working. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, and it’s usually my sleep that suffers. After reading that I can sleep more and have an easier time losing weight, there really shouldn’t be a question. But shouldn’t I be working out more or making healthy food? Yes I should, but sleep is just as important as my other healthy behaviors.
In a nutshell, your metabolism and hormones get all messed up if you aren’t sleeping enough. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you to eat and leptin is the hormone that tells you when you are full. Insufficient sleep raises ghrelin and lowers leptin, which means you feel like you need to eat and don’t realize you are full. The bottom line is that more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain…and this is what happens when we don’t get enough sleep.
If you want to read about if from the experts, you can check out the articles from Prevention, WebMD, USA Today, & How Stuff Works. It’s really interesting to see the scientific reasons that lack of sleep makes it harder to lose weight. I didn’t know there was a scientific reason until recently. I just knew that I didn’t make good choices when I was overly tired.
When I don’t get enough sleep, things seem much more difficult. Making a healthy meal can feel overwhelming, even with all my prep and planning. I don’t have the energy to be as active as I would normally. I don’t feel as mentally focused at work, and high calorie snacks that I normally avoid become huge temptations for some reason!
Sometimes I even eat in order to stay awake to watch TV. This has to be one of my craziest behaviors. For awhile I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. My hubby and I typically watch a show or two together in the evening. It’s our time for relaxing and entertainment. It’s something we do together, so it is important to me to do it. However, if I can’t make it through a 45 minute show without falling asleep, clearly I should be in bed…not snacking in order to stay awake!
Getting to bed on time has always been a challenge for me. I was doing really well for a few weeks and then I started slipping into old habits. When I do not go to bed on time, I won’t get up to work out in the morning. If I don’t get up to work out in the morning, it usually doesn’t happen. I feel like my morning workout gets me off on the right foot for the day. I feel more confident. I’m proud of myself, and I make better choices the rest of the day because of it! Knowing all of this, WHY DON’T I DO IT? SIGH!
I also read that if you are getting enough sleep, it should take you about 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you fall asleep in 5 minutes or less, you are sleep deprived. I pretty much ALWAYS fall asleep in less than 5 minutes, so I think it’s safe to say I am sleep deprived. Every day I tell myself that I will go to bed early. This will be the day that I get back on track with my sleep schedule. And every day, there’s something else that prevents me from going to bed.
I know that it is a choice, just like so many of my other weight loss habits and behaviors. Just as I choose to eat healthier foods and use my tracker, I can choose to go to bed on time. It really shouldn’t be a choice. I really should made it non-negotiable. If I don’t get enough sleep, I’m no good to my husband anyway because I get cranky and miserable! Sleep is important. Sleep helps me stick to my goals. Sleep helps me lose weight because I make better decisions when I’m not exhausted. Getting 7 hours of sleep needs to become just as essential as tracking my food. I got this.
Check out all my Habits of a Loser Posts!