How Sleep Affects Weight Loss

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Deciding to lose weight is a big step. You have to reflect on your past habits and decide that you want something better for yourself. It takes courage and commitment, but with time, you can lose excess weight to become healthier. After you start your journey, you may run into a few common issues that stall the weight loss you’re trying to achieve.

It’s frustrating to hit a plateau and not see the scale move when you’re eating better food and exercising regularly. Your daily routine plays a significant role in gaining or losing weight, but your nightly habits are just as important.

Check out how sleep affects weight loss to better understand how your body works. After you discover the benefits of getting enough sleep, you can get back on track and achieve your personal goals.

It Refines Your Self-Control

When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s hard to deny the immediate changes in how your brain works. You wake up feeling sluggish and disgruntled, which makes it harder to stick with healthy choices. You also won’t have the energy to exercise, especially if you prefer to work out in the morning.

It’s something everyone struggles with because sleep deprivation changes how your frontal lobe works. Without the ability to rest and recover while you sleep, your frontal lobe experiences dull periods of activity directly correlated to poor self-control and decision-making.

It Decreases Your Caloric Intake

After a rough night, you might feel tempted to add some comfort food to your breakfast alongside your cup of coffee. If you got enough rest, you might not care to eat those donuts or stop for fast food in the middle of the morning. You’d have the energy to power through your day and stick with healthy food instead.

A recent study also found that food stimulates the brain’s reward center more when you’re sleep-deprived. This could explain those increased cravings after staying up too late, or bouts of insomnia.

You’re also more likely to consume extra calories after dinner if you didn’t sleep the night before. If this happens, you can reset your diet and your sleep schedule if you eat the right foods before bed that contain nutrients that lull your body into a state of deep rest.

It Improves Your Physical Activity

After another round of your workout routine, your body needs sleep to recover and improve your physical performance. While you’re in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, your muscles relax and the increased blood flow repairs torn muscle tissue left from your previous workout.

If you continue to work out with weakened muscles, you’re more at risk for injuries and don’t build on your strength. Stronger, more developed muscles burn calories faster and more efficiently, which can only happen if your body repairs itself during long periods of much-needed sleep.

It Promotes Your Resting Metabolism

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the rate at which your body burns calories while you’re at rest, like while you work at your computer or watch television. Several factors influence this baseline metabolism, like your age and weight, but sleep plays a role too.

One study found that your RMR drops by at least five percent after long periods without sleep. It prevents your body from burning the fat you’re working so hard to lose with your normal diet and exercise routine.

It Prevents Insulin-Resistant Cell Growth

Insulin stores your blood sugar in your cells to transform it into energy. But insufficient sleep makes your cells more insulin-resistant even if you don’t have a history of diabetes in your family.

When this happens, sugar remains in your blood and your body produces even more insulin, which makes you hungrier and starts the cycle of overeating. As the cycle continues, your body stores more sugar and calories in your cells and increases your body fat percentage.

Sleeping at least eight hours every night prevents insulin-resistant cell growth because your body regulates your hormonal production, which directly affects how your cells replicate and tolerate insulin.

It Creates a Positive Mindset

There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as waking up refreshed in the morning. When you feel restored and ready to go, you start your day with a positive mindset that empowers you to make weight loss-friendly choices.

If you’ve struggled with a weight loss plateau or you want to start your journey, reflect on your nightly routine. You can always develop better sleep hygiene to create a healthy sleep schedule that benefits your health and increases your weekly weight loss.

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