Why sleep is essential if you want to lose weight

Why sleep is essential if you want to lose weight

Sleeping little has repercussions on our perception of food. Many studies have shown that not sleeping the right amount of hours can cause weight gain.

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Most of the adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, yet about 35% do not get enough sleep. Unfortunately, if you don't sleep well, it may be more difficult to eat well too. Let's see how the sleep affects eating habits and why. (Read also: Do you always wake up at the same time at night? What your body wants to tell you)


It can help you control your added sugar intake

Do you have a sweet tooth? Getting adequate sleep can help you. A 2018 study looked at the impact of sleep on eating habits, recruiting healthy people who slept between five and seven hours a night. One group was randomized to receive a 45-minute counseling session with sleep information and advice, simpler strategies for sleeping more.

Although none have received dietary advice, those who followed sleep advice have reduced the intake of added sugars by 10 grams per day, even if they haven't met the recommended sleep goal of seven to nine hours a night. So, by getting a little more sleep (but still less than recommended), the quality of their diet is significantly improved. 

It may make you less vulnerable to cravings

If you don't sleep well, it will be more difficult to manage cravings. Using MRI machines to detect brain activation, the researchers found that after a sleepless night, people looking at pictures of sugar-rich, packaged food, such as donuts and candy, recorded increased activity in areas of the brain. associated with reward and pleasure. Furthermore, the same points in the brain showed a significantly weaker response to healthy food.

Then, when you are sleep deprived, the way your brain sees food is altered; As a result, you will feel an increased craving for sweet foods and snacks that are anything but healthy.

It alters the perception of healthier foods

One study found that after a sleepless night, participants didn't want healthy foods. The data showed that they did not reduce the consumption of these foods, but they increased the amount of high-calorie foods. Additionally, based on eye movement monitoring, the researchers concluded that participants were more directed towards a less healthy food choice.

Contributes to overeating

When you sleep inadequately, you feel hungrier, because it increases theghrelin ormone. Also, it will take longer to feel full due to the lower leptin levels. Unsurprisingly, this could lead to eating larger portions. This was found in a 2019 study among women who usually slept seven to nine hours, who reported feeling much hungrier after limited sleep. They also ate larger portions, consequently increasing calorie intake by 12,4%.

It can help you manage your weight

Previous studies have found that a inadequate sleep could contribute to weight gain, due to its impact on hunger hormones and the perception of food. One study looked at how extra sleep affected the calorie intake of adults who slept less than 6 hours a night. One group was randomized to receive sleep hygiene counseling to extend rest to 8 hours.

The impact of extra sleep was very significant; those who received the counseling increased their sleep by approximately 1-2 hours and reduced their daily calorie intake by 270 calories. Using a body weight simulator, the researchers predicted that, if continued, theimpact from extra sleep alone could result in weight loss of around 11 kg over three years.

9 tips for better sleep

If you routinely sleep less than seven hours a night, here are some tips that can help you:

  • don't go to bed too hungry or too full: avoid going to bed immediately after eating a large meal. Leave at least two hours between the last bite and bedtime. If you are too hungry to sleep, have a light snack.
  • cut back on caffeine after noon: Caffeine is a stimulant and it takes longer to clear your system than you might think. The average time is around five hours, but for some people it can take twice as much.
  • cut back on alcohol: it is recommended to consume no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Although alcohol makes you sleepy at first, it causes other interruptions that ultimately reduce the quality of your rest.
  • go out every day: Sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock that tells you when to wake up and when it's time to go to bed.
  • you play sports almost every day: Exercise is beneficial for sleep. 
  • keep your bedroom ready for sleep: it should be cool, dark, comfortable and quiet.
  • reduce the use of electronic devices at night: Connect the phone across the room to limit the temptation to connect.
  • go to sleep and wake up at the same time every time: To extend the time you spend sleeping, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier and waking up 30 minutes later.
  • do relaxing ritualsThis could include deep breathing and meditation. The goal is to prepare the brain and body for bed.

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On sleep disorders could it be interesting for you:

  • If you always wake up at this time of night it could be a sign of an emotional block (or a problem with the intestines).
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  • If you wake up tired in the morning, you may have had little REM sleep. Tips and tricks to increase it and feel rejuvenated
  • Do you suffer from insomnia? It could be the DNA, identified the responsible genes



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