Sleep And Fat Loss!
We underestimate the importance of quality sleep. In fact, I have heard people bragging about the fact that they can stay up till 2 AM and get work done! While a few occasional late nights will do no harm, sleeping late every night or not getting enough sleep over a long period of time will severely mess up your body’s biological clock and have a negative impact on your metabolism!
Sleep deprivation has a major influence on how your body chooses to metabolize fat reserves!!! So, if you are trying to lose body fat or maintain your muscle mass, it is important to understand how the quality of your sleep will affect your fat burning capability!
Let’s talk about Leptin and Ghrelin:
When you are sleeping, your body produces a hormone called Leptin, which is involved in the regulation of appetite, metabolism and calorie burning. The job of Leptin is to tell your brain you have plenty of energy for the time being and there’s no need to trigger the feeling of hunger or the burning of calories. When you don’t get enough sleep, you end up with too little Leptin in your body, which, through a series of steps, makes your brain think you don’t have enough energy for your needs. So your brain tells you you’re hungry, even though you don’t actually need food at that time, and it takes steps to store the calories you eat as fat so you’ll have enough energy the next time you need it. The decrease in leptin brought on by sleep deprivation can result in a constant feeling of hunger and a general slow-down of your metabolism for the hours you are awake!
The other hormone found to be related to sleep and weight is Ghrelin. The purpose of Ghrelin is basically the exact opposite of Leptin. It tells your brain when you need to eat, when it should stop burning calories and when it should store energy as fat. During sleep, levels of ghrelin decrease, because sleep requires far less energy than being awake does. People who don’t sleep enough end up with too much ghrelin in their system, so the body thinks it’s hungry and it needs more calories, and it stops burning those calories because it thinks there’s a shortage.
This vicious cycle of low Leptin and high Ghrelin can completely sabotage your metabolism and force your body to store fat.
Now that we understand how sleep deprivation can affect the levels of Leptin and Ghrelin and influence your body’s ability to part with stubborn fat reserves, lets talk about what you can do to improve the quality of your sleep and get your body in the fat burning mode! The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults between 18-64 years of age, but it is more important to bring our attention to how we can improved the quality of our sleep and not just the quantity.
Here are 6 tips to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep:
1. Get sun exposure:
Sounds ironic, but as little as 10 minutes of exposure to sunlight between 6-7 am in the morning will change the way you sleep at night! This will reset your circadian rhythm, regulate cortisol levels and ultimately set you up for a good night sleep at the end of the day.2. Exercise regularly:
Including 15-30 minutes of exercise in your routine 5-6-times/ week will help to reduce stress and improve both the quality and duration of your sleep.
3. Avoid caffeine or alcohol right before bedtime:
Caffeine can keep you awake and alcohol can disrupt the normal stages of your sleep. It is best to avoid both for about 2 hours before bedtime to get optimal sleep.4. Have a solid bedtime routine:
It doesn’t have to be a long one, but it is important to have a set bedtime routine even as adults! This could be something as simple as taking a warm bath, changing into comfortable clothes and reading a few pages from a book. As long as you follow the same routine consistently and keep your bedtime the same, your body will get use to it and you will get ready for sleep every time you go through your bedtime routine!5. Stay away from media and electronic gadgets:
The blue light emitted by gadgets like cell phones, computes and TV sets have a negative impact on your ability to sleep. It is recommended to stay media free for at least 60 minutes before bedtime! Instead of watching television, playing on your cell phone or computers right before bedtime, use that time to tell your kids a bedtime story, spend time with your spouse or read a book! 6. Keep your bedroom cool and dark:
This gives your body the signal that it is time to go to bed. A dark environment regulates the production of Melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Optimal production of Melatonin helps your body to convert white fat into brown fat (aka good fat), which can then be broken down and used for energy, as against being stored in your body.
I hope you can apply some or all of the above tips to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep as optimal sleep plays a big role in fat loss.
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