When it comes to losing weight, the amount of sleep you get may be just as important as your exercise and your diet.
How Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain
Inadequate sleep has, again and again, has been linked to a greater body mass index (BMI) and weight gain (1).
Changes in weight have been shown in people when they get less seven hours of sleep a night. In fact, a review found that short sleep duration increased the chances of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults (2).
One study showed allowing just fives hours per night for five nights led to an average weight gain of about 1.8 (.82kg) (4).
Lack of sleep causes weight gain, and weight gain contributes to poor sleep. It’s a terrible cycle (5).
Studies have found that poor sleep correlated with a higher likelihood of obesity and weight gain in both adults and children.
Sleep Deprivation Slows Metabolism
Research shows that sleep deprivation may lower your resting metabolic rate (RMR) (6).
Resting metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns at rest.
Muscle burns more calories than fat at rest, and poor sleep can cause muscle loss, which decreases resting metabolic rates.
One study put ten overweight adults on a moderate calorie diet for 14-days. Subjects were allowed to sleep either 5.5 or 8.5 hours per night.
Weight loss was achieved by both groups but the people who slept for 5.5 hours lost most of their weight from muscle and less from fat (8).
RMR could be lowered by 100 calories per day by a loss of 20 pounds (10-kg) of muscle (9).
Poor sleep may lower your resting metabolic rate (RMR), although findings are mixed. This could be because poor sleep may cause muscle loss.
How Sleep Affects Appetite
Also, the hormone cortisol increases when you do not get adequate sleep. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can increase appetite. (1).
Lack of sleep can increase appetite, possibly due to its effect on hormones that signal fullness and hunger.
Poor sleep leads to more calorie consumption.
Furthermore, some studies on sleep deprivation have found that a significant portion of the excess calories consumed is snacks after dinner. (4).
A study of 12 men found that subjects ate an average of 559 more calories when they were allowed to sleep only four hours, compared to when they were allowed eight (14).
Another study on lack of sleep showed that the extra calories are eaten after dinner as snacks (15).
Reduced sleep can increase your calorie intake by increasing portion sizes, late-night snacking and the time available to eat.
Lack Of Sleep Can Cause Insulin Resistance
Sleep deprivation can cause cells to become insulin resistant. In one study, 11 men were allowed only four hours of sleep for six nights. After this, their bodies’ ability to lower blood sugar levels decreased by 40% (16, 17).
In a study, the ability to lower blood sugar decreased by 40% in six nights when men were allowed only 4 hours of sleep per night (17).
It looks as though poor sleep can cause insulin resistance.
Poor sleep for a few days can cause insulin resistance that is a precursor to both type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
So here you have it. Sleep is an essential factor when it comes to weight loss.
Don’t forget to exercise: the quickest way to reshape your body is with a combination of exercise and smart eating.
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