Guest post by Samantha of Ripped.me
If you firmly believe that a diet plan and an exercise routine are all it takes to shed weight and keep it off – there’s at least one more piece to the puzzle you might be missing, hence stifling your progress. And no, it’s not a magic pill, a clothing hack, or the Holy Grail itself. It’s your sleeping schedule, and your quality of sleep that can either empower or completely shatter your weight loss plans.
But before you rush to bed, let’s take a look at how your Zzzs affect your health and how you can optimize your sleep to reap the rewards, including keeping those pesky pounds off for good!
Shut-eye and your diet in cahoots
Most people eager to change their habits and see results focus predominantly on the two aforementioned factors, introducing more physical activity and reducing their caloric intake. And while these two parts of the equation truly work well together, if you’re not giving your body enough time to rest, recuperate and make use of all the nutrients you need, then the effort is in vain.
To be more precise, according to a study conducted by the University of Chicago’s General Clinical Resource Center, a lack of sleep reduces the expected effects of your dieting, causing less fat loss than in people who had optimal rest. Get fewer than 7 hours of sleep, and you will wake up cranky, hungrier than you should be, and your body will have a reduced ability to burn unwanted fat.
Sleep and metabolism
As for your workout regime, if you’re not sleeping enough and well, your body becomes less efficient at metabolizing nutrients, and your energy expenditure dwindles. In fact, prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked to chronic metabolic disorders, wreaking havoc on your hormonal balance – boosting the production of an appetite-increasing hormone called ghrelin, and reducing leptin, the hormone that tells your body you’re full.
Moreover, poor sleep also impacts how your body uses insulin, which is another hormone that plays a role in using food to produce energy. Poor diet choices caused by these hormones out of whack and decreased insulin sensitivity increase your risk of weight gain and even diseases such as diabetes. If there ever was a reason to mind your sleep – let your long-term health be yours.
The sleeping nook
However, sometimes you feel as if you’re doing all you can to sleep more and sleep better, but the odds are still not in your favor. First of all, it takes time to adjust to your new change of pace. Second of all, your bedroom plays a pivotal role in defining the amount and the quality of your sleep, so start with a quick redecoration.
The temperature in your bedroom should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, creating an optimally cool environment to prevent restlessness and waking up during the night. Keep the air in your bedroom fresh, clean and pollutant free, so peruse through air purifier ratings online to find your best choice that will keep your indoor air clean. And most importantly, keep your digital gadgets away from the bedroom – screens are only going to impede your sleep quality before bed.
Cherish your circadian rhythm
Get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night and you’re good to go, right? Well, not exactly. Your body has its own inner clock, known as the circadian rhythm, and it is closely connected to the 24-hour day-night cycle in nature, so it’s also important when you choose to sleep, and how often you stick to your preferred schedule.
Our body temperature naturally peaks around noon and slowly drops until it reaches it sleep-inducing time around ten in the evening, and your brain starts producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Plus, we require several 90-minute sleep cycles per night, so you can calculate your bedtime and wake-up time with this knowledge in mind – if you cannot do it alone, sleepyti.me can help.
And finally, once you have crafted your perfect schedule, consistency, in terms of healthy nutrition, proper exercise and sleep will be the key to protecting your health, as well as your weight loss plans.
Samantha has a B.Sc. in Nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her at Ripped.me, or in a tea shop.