If only burning calories could be done by curling up under the covers ….
Well, you’re in luck! It turns out that getting some extra sleep CAN actually go a long way in helping you burn stubborn fat. When you cut on your sleep, your hormones go crazy, which can cause you to pack on extra pounds. In fact, researchers are starting to look hard at how poor sleep habits can play a role in the obesity epidemic.
Think of being healthy as a tripod — diet and exercise are important, but the whole thing will topple over without adequate sleep — and most of us aren’t getting enough.
Here are some tips on HOW extra sleep can help your health!
Sleep can make you less snack-ish The cells in your stomach lining produce a hormone called ghrelin, which signals hunger —and a lack of sleep can send this hormone into overdrive. “When we’re sleep deprived, we make more ghrelin,” says Kristine Arthur, M.D., internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA. It’s your body’s way of telling you it needs more energy — stat — if not from shuteye, then from calories.
Sleep can keep you from overeating On the flip side of ghrelin, there’s leptin, the “fullness hormone” that helps you keep your portions in check. Leptin is produced in your fat cells and signals your brain when you have enough energy from food. But when you’re sleepy, leptin levels dip, making you likely to consume more calories than you really need.
Sleep can curb unhealthy cravings Not only does lack of sleep increase your appetite, but research has shown it makes you more likely to reach for high-calorie snacks. Sleep deprivation also increases your levels of endocannabinoids, the chemicals that make eating more enjoyable—and researchers believe this can boost your obesity risk.
Sleep can reduce stress Lack of sleep increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to cause your body to retain fat around the midsection. But that’s not the only way cortisol has been associated with your weight loss efforts — it also stimulates gluconeogenesis, a process that causes the body to produce more glucose.
Sleep can help regulate blood sugar So, what happens to all that extra glucose your body is producing when you’re short on sleep? With higher cortisol levels on a regular basis, there is more insulin resistance and therefore, over time, you’ll need more insulin to break down the same amount of glucose.
Sleep can sustain your endurance Lack of sleep can also impede weight loss efforts in the gym, whether you’re burning fat with high-intensity cardio or boosting your metabolism with strength training, lack of sleep can decrease your endurance and your pain tolerance, which makes it hard to go 100 percent. You may feel like you’re working harder than you actually are.
When your schedule is overwhelming, it can feel impossible to hit the sack early. But sleep deprivation, especially over the long term, can mess with your efforts to get on the health train in so many ways. It’s a vicious cycle! The solution: Schedule time for sleep, and treat it as a non-negotiable part of your day J And then I challenge you to make it 15 minutes sooner!