Sleep to lose weight – how sleep affects weight loss
A study presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2006 showed that there is a definite relationship between sleep and weight loss. The study presented included thousands of women who were studied over a period of sixteen years. The study compared women who slept an average of five hours a night, versus those who slept an average of six and finally those who slept an average of 7 hours or more.
Sleep to lose weight – Women who sleep an average of 5 hours a night or less.
The study found that women who slept an average of 5 hours or less were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain than those women who slept an average of 7 hours per night. They are also 15% more likely to become obese over a sixteen year period than women who sleep 7 hours or more.
While these numbers may not mean much to you, the effect, in plain English, without being an accountant means the following:
If you sleep an average of five hours a night, rather than seven, then over a sixteen year period you have:
1. A one in three chance of gaining an extra 33 pounds over that period.
2. A one in ten chance of becoming obese.
Those don’t sound like good odds to me. So the conclusion is – Sleep to lose weight!
Sleep to lose weight – Women who sleep an average of 6 hours a night or less.
The women who slept 6 hours compared with the ones who slept seven hours on average, faired a little better, however their stats were nothing to write home about either. They were 12% more likely to experience weight gain over the period and 6% more likely to become obese.
The study included information on exercise to make sure that the groups were doing the same kinds of activity to ensure that their findings were accurate. There were no material differences between the amount of exercise between the two groups. So exercise wasn’t a factor in the results.
The researchers however, found a very interesting correlation between sleep and what the women were eating. And the results were not what they expected at all. Curiously, the women who slept less, ate less and yet still gained more than those who got 7 hours a night.
Why women who eat less, gain weight.
The study itself did not give reasons why women who slept less, and ate less gained more weight, however, through research I have been able to find the following possibilities:
Sleep to lose weight and increase your basal metabolism rate.
Your basal metabolism rate is the rate at which your body burns calories while you rest. It seems that it’s a possibility that women who sleep 7 hours average per night, have a higher basal metabolism, which means that they burn more calories while they’re asleep and while they’re awake.
Sleep to lose weight and fidget more.
Another reason proffered relates to how much you move around during the day. Not actual walking but fidgeting. It seems that shifting in your seat, tapping your foot – essentially fidgeting – leads to a higher number of calories burnt, which in turn leads to weight loss. The researchers suggest that someone who sleeps less at night tends to be less “active” during the day, which means that they burn fewer calories, than someone who gets a good nights sleep.
Biological effects of getting too little sleep
Inadequate sleep has been shown to interfere with a person’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. This can lead to higher blood sugar levels. This in turn leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.
Research has also shown that inadequate sleep can reduce the levels of growth hormone that the body produces. This in turn leads to an imbalance in the body’s ratio of fat to muscle.
Inadequate sleep has also been blamed as a factor in the reduction of leptin levels. These levels cause you to crave carbohydrates. So it’s not just willpower which affects the success of your weight loss efforts!
Conclusion: Sleep to lose weight!
Getting a good nights sleep (i.e. 7 hours or more per night) can and will:
• Help you to lose weight
• Reduce your cravings for carbohydrates
• Improve your metabolism by correcting growth hormone imbalances
• Reduce the body’s fat storage by correcting imbalance in blood sugar levels
And don’t forget that there are many herbs for slimming which will help you get the sleep you need to make your weight loss program far more effective.
Herbs which you can use to ensure a good nights sleep include:
Here are a few herbal recipes which can help you get a head start on a good nights rest: