Obesity is a condition that is affecting more and more Americans every year, and while everyone seems to be aware of it, the problem doesn’t exactly look as if it is going away anytime soon. Now, losing weight isn’t rocket science, in fact, it is a fairly simple approach that is easy to follow and get good results, as long as you are disciplined enough. But most people don’t consider the importance of sleep for weight loss.
The Importance of Sleep for Weight Loss
Or is it? If it were that simple, don’t you think that many people would be getting real results by now? The truth is that it isn’t nearly as simple as we make it out to be. Our bodies are very complex machines. Each of them is inherently different in many ways, so how easy it is for a particular person to lose weight depends on their genetics (the speed of their metabolism), the psychology and mental health of the person, and the amount of stress they place themselves under. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Weight Loss is NOT Simple
The worst thing you can tell someone who is desperately trying to lose weight and improve their health is something like “it’s so simple, just eat less and move more.” Trust me that is not all that there is to it.
One of the most common factors that we often ignore when we discuss weight loss is how much sleep a person is getting. Sleep is integral to maintaining proper bodily function, and to be able to efficiently lose weight your body first has to be in a place of good health, so to speak. Today, I want to discuss just some of how a lack of sleep can hinder your weight loss, and why it is a really good idea to get a good night’s sleep every night if you plan on reaching your desired weight loss goals.
Lack of Energy
Lack of energy is probably the most obvious one, but it is also possibly the most important. When you don’t get enough sleep the previous day, you simply feel less energetic and possibly even weaker than you do when you’re well rested. Coffee and energy drinks can help to a certain extent, but you’ll never feel quite as good as you do when you get a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep means the quality and efficiency of your workouts will undoubtedly falter since you’ll simply get tired a lot faster than you usually do.
A major reason why it’s important to get at least 7 hours of sleep every day is the way sleep deprivation impacts your body’s ability to synthesize the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for regulating our blood sugar, and if the amount of insulin in our blood is thrown off balance, it can affect the way our bodies metabolize fats and even affect our appetite. Have you ever noticed how your body tends to crave much more food when it is tired? This is because it feels that it is out of energy and desperately wants to replace that energy by consuming more food when in reality all that it needs is to get more sleep.
Lack of Focus
Exercise takes much more than just raw energy. It requires significant mental focus. You need to think about
your body and how you’re performing the workout for it to be as effective as possible, and not injure yourself in the process. Also, a general lack of focus can significantly contribute to the breaking of the dietary rules you’ve set for yourself, both intentionally and by accident. Losing weight, in general, is a pretty strenuous and stressful process for the body so even a small drop in mental focus can set you back quite a bit.
Finally, it’s important to mention that according to various studies, about 30 percent of Americans are constantly sleep deprived. It’s a very odd coincidence that about that same percentage accounts for the number of obese people in the US. Perhaps this isn’t a coincidence at all?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every sleep deprived person is obese because that’s simply not true and quite impossible, but this kind of statistic shows that there is some correlation between sleep deprivation and obesity.
Now that you know the facts about how sleep can affect your weight loss efforts, it’s time you do something about it. No matter what kind of reason you might have for getting less sleep, just be aware that your health always comes first, and that anything else should be much further down the list. Good luck!
Theresa Brawner is a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Boston, MA, who writes articles for www.diet.st. in her free time. When she isn’t helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.