When’s the last time you felt so tired you didn’t want to work out or decided to grab a donut in the break room for some extra “energy?” The truth is if you’re too tired to stay focused on daily tasks, you’ll have a hard time making healthy choices and staying motivated as well.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve hit the snooze button when I didn’t want to hit the gym in the morning simply because I was exhausted and wanted more sleep. But could I have prevented this feeling? Absolutely. Any time I haven’t went to bed on time, I wake up and continue feeling moody all day, my energy is low, I crave more sugary foods, and quite honestly, I’m not very fun to be around.
Getting enough sleep every night is key for your health, mentality, and fat loss goals. In fact, in a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin, participants who got less sleep actually showed higher levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and lower levels of leptin – another protein hormone that’s responsible for sending signals to your brain that you’re full and satisfied. Basically, when you deprive your body of much needed sleep, you’re setting yourself up for snack time extravaganza. Your body will constantly be trying to find ways to get your brain functioning at normal levels and it will be hard to say no when you’re already feeling moody and not as motivated.
Sleep also helps you lose fat by giving your body the time it needs to rest and recover. When we sleep and especially when we enter the REM cycle (usually around 25% of the night), our muscles actually relax while blood supply is increased and tissues are repaired. Blood pressure is also decreased and more energy is sent throughout the entire body and the brain. Sleep allows our bodies to truly utilize all of the nutrients we are putting into it and to recover fully from an intense cardio or strength-training workout.
So how much sleep do you need to lose fat? Unfortunately there isn’t a magical number here, six hours of sleep won’t equal two pounds of fat but staying consistent with the amount of sleep you need, will help you reach your long term goals and keep the weight off.
On average, most adults need around eight hours of sleep per night. Some can get by on less and some may need more. Take note of how you feel after nights when you’ve slept well and keep in mind that an extra hour of Netflix now might cost you the motivation to go to the gym tomorrow.
Some great tips for getting enough sleep include:
- Set a time each night to wind down, make some tea, turn off the TV or any electronic devices and get into sleep mode
- Decide how much sleep you need and make a commitment to yourself – a solid bedtime. Think about all of the mornings when you’ve woken up before your alarm and you feel rested and excited to start your day. It’s worth it to feel like that every day!
- Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and evening
- Don’t wait until you’re sleepy to get ready for bed. Dim the lights and grab a book, you’ll realize you’re actually ready for bed around the same time every night
- Be consistent; if you normally go to sleep around 9pm, staying out until 2am on a Friday can be hard to adjust to afterwards.
- If you’re like me and have trouble turning your brain off at night, write a list before bed of everything you want to think about. Knowing it’s written down and something you won’t forget will help you focus on getting those much needed Zzzs
The more in tune you continue to be with your health, body, and mentality, the faster you’ll notice your fat loss goals coming true.
source: How Sleep Will Help You Lose Fat