Nothing feels better than a good night’s sleep. Except for, well, losing unwanted body fat. Yet, the two healthy habits are related. Good sleeping habits are linked to healthy body weight. But how do sleeping habits affect weight loss? We found out.
It Fights Cravings
When you have a good night’s sleep, your rested body is better able to produce the hormone ghrelin, which helps with limiting and fighting food cravings. At the same time it decreases the production of the hormone leptin, which signals feelings of satiety. Both, says Forbes, can help with keeping your calories in a healthy range and prevent over eating.
It Keeps Your Metabolism in Check
Your metabolism is directly affected by how well you sleep. Studies show, reports Men’s Fitness, that the better sleep habits we have the better our genes are able to support the body’s functions with energy use and the storage of fatty acids. And the less sleep we get, the less these genes are able to influence our body weight.
It Lessens the Allure of Junk Food
A tired brain loves junk food, shows a study reported by The New York Times. The researchers deprived study subjects of one night’s sleep and then analyzed the way their brains responded to potato chips and sweets. The lack of shut-eye had immediate effects on the parts of the mind that handled impulse decisions and food cravings (yes, I’ll eat an entire bag of chips!).
It Helps Insulin Function
If you don’t have diabetes or know someone close to you with the condition, insulin function isn’t likely on your mind. But insulin is a hormone that determines food metabolism and fat storage. A study from the University of Chicago, reports Shape.com, found that four days of sleep deprivation cause insulin sensitivity to drop by more than 30 percent. That can lead to high levels of fat lipids in the blood and more fat storage, especially in the liver.
Now, this info might be stressing you out. To help rest your worries, and your body, the National Sleep Foundation offers these tips:
- Get your circadian clock on real time by sticking with a sleep schedule. Go to bed around the same time every night.
- Relax before bed. Don’t do anything that will get you excited or stress. Avoid work and physical activity. Don’t eat or drink before bedtime, either.
- Stop napping. Get your rest at night.
- Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Have the temperature somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees, void of noise and light.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. Choose pillows and a mattress that support your neck and spine. And keep linens clean to avoid allergens.