We often shortchange our beauty and recovery sleep for a multitude of life reasons that we try to justify when we’re short on time for everything else. But if you’re like most people sacrificing sleep and trying to lose weight, you’re only working against any weight loss efforts you’re making. It’s a totally counterproductive yet easily correctable behavior that can be altered by first making yourself aware of the damage you are doing in your recovery and weight loss plight.
The fact is nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep during a typical workweek. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are far more likely to make bad decisions and mindlessly eat. The activity in the brain’s frontal lobe is dulled and this affects decision-making and impulse control, which is easily comparable to being drunk and not having the mental clarity to make good decisions over bad ones. (i.e. eating a Modern Proteins prepared meal instead of ordering a pizza). Now, even if you may be tired, when your lobe is dulled, your body’s “reward centers” amp up, searching for something that makes it feels good. So while you might be able to fight back the crazy food cravings when your brain and body are well rested, you are far more susceptible to not resist the temptation of a jumbo dessert or a mindless binge in front of the refrigerator. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were lacking sleep, their late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks. (Maybe this is why Girl Scout Cookies are such a late night craving.)
A second study found that sleeping too little also prompts people to eat larger and oversized portions of all foods, thus, increasing their weight gain. Incredibly, in a review of over 18 studies, researchers concluded that lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods. The verdict? A sleepy brain appears to crave junk food while also lacking the impulse control needed to resist temptation and just say no.
Sleep is basically nutrition for your brain. If you don’t feed it properly, it will not perform properly. If your brain does not perform properly, your body will not perform properly, and can tempt you to scrap the trip to the gym to do cardio, which results in less exercise, which results in weight gain. It’s all relative here, folks. It is suggested that most people get between 7 and 9 hours each night, but most Americans only get between 5 and 8 hours. And like most Americans, you’re probably trying to lose those pesky extra pounds but insufficient sleep impacts both your hunger and fullness hormones – ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin tells your brain when it’s time to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin.
Leptin, tells your brain to put the fork down and when you are actually full. When you don’t get enough sleep your leptin levels take a nosedive, thus signaling your brain to continue chowing down. Add these two hormonal hunger elements together, and it’s scientifically clear as day why sleep deprivation leads to overeating and weight gain.
And let’s not forget about cortisol! Cortisol is the stress hormone that helps signal your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. No sleep equals a spike in your cortisol levels, which causes you to retain water, which makes you more apt to hang on to your fat rather than shed it.
Sleep deprivation also makes you “metabolically groggy,” Within just 4 days of insufficient sleep, your body’s ability to process insulin goes awry and drops by more than 30%. What is insulin exactly? Insulin is a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy.
Here’s why the drop in insulin is not good. When your body’s insulin levels are off, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, which results in storing the insulin as fat. Over time, as sure as day is long, too little sleep will impede your metabolism and be a contributing factor to your weight gain. There is no benefit to not getting a good night’s sleep on any level.
How do you change this behavior of getting more shuteye? First off, turn off the gadgets. TV screens, warm computer glows, iPhones – anything that emits light or noise and will not let you get a proper REM sleep. Darkness cues your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while exposure to light actually suppresses it. Also try to implement a habitual schedule to turn in each night earlier and earlier until you can put eventually yourself to bed at a reasonable hour every night in order to get a recommended 7 hours of sleep. Reading is also a great way to tire your eyes and relax your body, and you get to catch up on all those books you’ve been meaning to read. This one’s tough, but you should try and save your bedroom for 2 things exclusively – sex and sleep. Create a Zen den that’s reserved strictly for relaxing and releasing only. No distractions. Your cardio will probably improve, this assisting in your weight loss.
And finally one of the bigger issues to tackle is what you eat and when you eat it in conjunction with when you go to sleep. Indulging in heavy meals and alcohol consumption close to your bedtime can cause nausea, heartburn or gas, which makes it uncomfortable, which makes it hard to fall asleep. Drinking soda, tea, coffee, and eating chocolate after 2PM can also hinder your efforts to lose weight. Caffeine is a potent stimulant that can remain in your system for up to 5 to 6 hours after ingesting, which probably explains why you cannot count sheep at night, as most of us tend to consume these things periodically throughout the day. But if you are properly meal planning and doing so using a prepared meal service, you can easily eliminate the digestive issues and timing that are plaguing your diet and weight loss attempts. Modern Proteins’ vast menu offerings can help you make incredibly sound decisions when it comes to eating and our clean organic prepared meals won’t cause stomach discomfort or irritation. And when you choose to work with a high protein meal delivery service like us, you’ll see how always having healthy clean food on deck goes hand in hand with losing weight and fat. If you are not tempted to make poor eating decisions and have a meal plan in action, you are always bound to eat healthfully and abundantly. No need for losing sleep wondering what you’re going to eat and when and how you’re going to find the time to shop, cook and prepare it. Modern Proteins’ health food delivery service is a proven and easy way to achieve your ideal body mass index and maintain your health.
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder