Everyone knows that sleep is important, but many of us still ignore this fact and don’t even consider that lack of sleep could be a key factor in hampering our fat loss goals.
Have you ever noticed that the closer you get to bedtime, the more you want to eat everything in sight? This is no coincidence.
The desire for late night snacking is often just your body telling you that you are tired and are lacking energy, but instead of sleeping, we reach for sugary snacks to fill that void and attempt to increase energy levels. This is likely influenced by 2 hunger hormones; ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain and leptin is a hormone released from fat cells which suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin production and decreases leptin production, making you hungry and increasing your appetite.
Being tired also makes your judgement hazy by dulling activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the epicentre of decision-making and impulse control. Which explains why it’s so much harder to resist calorie dense treats when you’re exhausted!
Of course, diet is only one side of the story.
The more tired you are, the more likely you are to hit that snooze button and skip the gym in the morning, or to just head straight home from work and neglect your evening workout. And even if you do find the motivation to make it to the gym, your workouts will suffer. You won’t be able to concentrate fully, give it your all and get the most out of your session, not to mention sleep being the body's time to repair itself from physical stress.
Better sleep = better recovery.
Working out on no sleep means your body hasn't fully recovered from your workout the day before, and if you put your body through another strenuous workout the day after poor sleep, it won’t be long before injuries occur and progress will grind to a halt.
As if you didn’t have enough reasons to get to bed earlier, sleep also enhances muscular recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release.
A good night of sleep is paramount for optimal performance. While everyone is different and there’s no right number of hours of sleep that applies to all people, the standard recommendation is between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
Make sleep a priority. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference and have a bigger impact on your goals than any other health decision you make.