Are you in a rut? Are you having a hard time losing weight or even gaining while you’re actively trying to lose it? There are several things that can contribute to this issue. One of which is lack of sleep! Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey states in an article that addresses this issue on Web,MD, “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods”. This article explains that a large portion of the population goes with less than 6 hours of sleep per night. If the average person who gets 5 hours per night were to get 7 instead, you would be surprised on how well the body will begin to work to get rid of that fat! Dr. Micheal Breus, a sleep specialist, wrote an artcle in the Huffington Post that further points out the importance of sleep! He says that “Low sleep causes your body to produce more of the stress-hormone cortisol, which in turn spurs your appetite. ” The Science Daily reported that when dieters in a study got a full night’s sleep, they lost the same amount of weight as when they slept less. When dieters got adequate sleep, however, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. When they cut back on their sleep, only one-fourth of their weight loss came from fat. They also felt hungrier. When sleep was restricted, dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure. Harvard University even reports that lack of sleep can cause lots of problems! They list 6 things that lack of sleep effect!
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.