Struggling to lose those last 10 pounds to reach your weight-loss goal?
If you’re eating a healthy well-balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains and find yourself participating in various cardiovascular and strength training activities at the gym, it can be mind-boggling and down-right frustrating to not see the numbers on the scale decrease. Proper diet + a good exercise schedule + weight loss surgery = weight loss, right?
In most cases, the answer would be yes. However, there is still one very important key to weight loss success that you may be missing: sleep. On average, adults who get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night are more likely to lose weight.
How sleep can help with weight loss
Here are three ways sleep can help you to lose weight.
It will help you to avoid over-eating
Be honest: when do you do most of your snacking? For most people, it takes place at night, right before bed.
In most cases we don’t snack at night because we are hungry, but rather because we are bored or feel like we need a snack to go with our movie or TV-watching. After all, is there anything that goes better with your favorite movie than a bowl of popcorn or a box of your favorite theater candy?
Our late-night snacking gets us in trouble for two main reasons: One, our snacks are rarely, if ever, healthy choices. And two, when we choose to eat junk food late at night we are not giving our bodies enough time to digest the food and to burn off the extra calories – we are simply snacking and sleeping… not exactly the best combination for weight loss.
It will help you to make healthier decisions
When you’re over-tired, your mind and body becomes exhausted and void of all energy. This can create a chain reaction of bad decisions.
First off, your body is more likely to crave junk food when you’re sleep deprived. There have been various research studies published in recent years that show that when a person is deprived of sleep their brain is more likely to respond to pleasure and rewards. In contrast, the brain’s frontal lobe, a key area of the brain that helps individuals gain the ability to make decisions (such as choosing a salad over a Big Mac) shuts down.
With the lack of sleep also comes lack of energy. This means when it comes time to make dinner, you’re probably more inclined to grab fast food than to take the time to make a healthy and nutritious meal. This means more calories, carbs, fat, and alas, more pounds to pack on.
The lack of energy caused by the lack of sleep will also make you less likely to spend time exercising. An unhealthy diet + no exercise = no calorie burning or fat loss, which in turn = more weight gain.
It will increase your metabolism
Your metabolism plays a key role in your ability to lose weight since it works to break down and process the calories you eat each day. The faster your metabolism is, the better your chances of weight loss success. There are some ways to boost your metabolism including getting proper exercise and eating certain nutritious foods including egg whites, lean meat, water, chili peppers, coffee, green tea, and grains, and of course, getting a good night’s sleep.
It is important to get enough sleep each night if you want to increase your metabolism because sleep deprivation can cause issues with your hormones, cortisol levels, and blood sugar levels. This means it will be harder for your body to retain muscles, and burn fat and calories, therefore contributing to weight gain.
So, if you’re still holding out hope on losing those last 10 pounds, turn off Netflix, turn out the lights and get to sleep! Your body will thank you.