5 Ways Sleep Helps Weight Loss

April 7, 2015

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Many factors are at work when it comes to weight loss, and the proper amount of quality sleep is a crucial one. Just like weight, sleep is a core function that impacts your overall health and wellbeing. So it should come as little surprise that the better you sleep, the higher your chances of achieving your weight loss goals.

Here are five ways more quality sleep improves weight loss:

Burn More Calories Calories burned is one of the most significant factors in weight loss. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-loss induced a decrease in energy expenditure. This means that people who were not well rested burned fewer calories daily than the well-rested group. The normal sleepers were also able to burn 20 percent more calories after meals than the group lacking sleep. And what did the sleep-restricted people do while the other group slept? They consumed on average an additional 550 calories!

More Brain Power. Your brain responds differently with lack of sleep. A Columbia University study found sleep-deprived people had greater activation of the brain’s reward center to unhealthy food compared to healthy food. The well-rested subjects did not exhibit marked patterns between unhealthy and healthy foods. Picking the right foods to eat is hard enough already. The right amount of quality sleep can be the difference in deciding between having a healthy meal or succumbing to eating an unnecessary snack.

Less Late Night Snacks. Staying awake extra hours gives more opportunities to eat. Hormones that control appetite can be disrupted by lack of sleep, causing people to feel hungrier than a person with a full night’s sleep. A study by the University of Pennsylvania tracked subjects getting four or nine hours of sleep. They found that group getting nine hours of sleep gained the least amount of weight.

Aids in Sustained Weight Loss. A Nurse’s Health Study tracked 16,000 healthy women for 16 years collecting data on their sleep habits, diets, and lifestyle habits. After 16 years, women who slept five hours or less had a 15 percent greater risk of becoming obese, compared to women who slept seven hours per night. Getting sufficient amounts of sleep regularly can keep levels ghrelin, “the hunger hormone,” at balanced levels so that you win the long-term battle against bad food cravings.

Increases Your Metabolism. Lack of sleep influences your basal metabolic rate, or BMR for short. The BMR represents calories burned at rest and accounts for about 70 percent of calories burned during the day. Simply put, your BMR is the calories your body burns throughout the day to keep you functioning. The metabolic rate decreases following sleep deprivation by around 200 calories. With a few bad nights of sleep a week, a person can potentially gain two pounds a year from sleep deprivation alone!

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[…] solid, quality sleep. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived people consumed an average of 500 more calories per day than well-rested […]

[…] to you personally. Why choose this food over that? Why engage in this type of cardio exercise? Why get more sleep? Bottom line: build a specific plan personalized to you, backed up by evidence of its […]

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