Sleep – The Forgotten Weight Loss Tool!

Have you ever noticed after a terrible night sleep you go searching through the fridge for something to give you that “energy kick” to get you through your day. In this post I’m going to explain to you how a bad night’s sleep is affecting your quest for weight loss.

Not only does a bad night’s sleep make you feel terrible, more and more studies are demonstrating the effects it has on our bodies from a weight gain perspective.

Studies conducted at the Laboratory of Physiology in Belgium found that those who were not getting enough sleep had elevated cortisol (stress) levels in both the afternoon and evening compared to others who were getting adequate sleep.

So, how much sleep is enough?

A recent study presented by the American Thoracic Society Conference followed women’s sleeping patterns and weight gain over a 16 year period. Data showed women who slept 5 hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (increase of 15kg or more) and 15% more likely to become obese compared to those who slept 7 hours or more per night.

So, how does inadequate sleep affect you?

  • Interferes with the body’s ability to metabolise carbohydrates, and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body fat storage.
  • Drives down leptin levels which makes the body crave carbohydrates.
  • Reduces levels of growth hormone which help regulate the body’s proportion of fat and muscle.
  • Can lead to insulin resistance and increased risk of diabetes.
  • May lead to increase in blood pressure.
  • Can increase the risk of heart disease.

Tips for a better nights sleep:

  • Remove all electronics including phones, TVs or anything electrical.
  • Ensure the room is as dark as possible.
  • No sugar before bed.
  • Static stretch before bed to help muscles relax.

* Supplement with Magnesium and the amino acid L-Tryptophan. I place many of my clients who have sleep issues on these supplements and it has worked for all sleep strugglers due to L-Tryptophan being a precursor for serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep as well as a stable mood.

So if your wondering why you can’t lose those extra few kilos it may be caused by your sleeping patterns.