Good quality sleep has a massive impact on your body composition and how it can help you lose weight and burn fat. Sleep helps regulate hormones that govern appetite and metabolism.
“Sleep deprivation is directly related to an inability to lose weight” – Shaun Stevenson
Firstly, we need to have a shift in our perspective and understanding how sleep impacts our body in particular fat storing and fat burning. It is only then that we can appreciate, value and prioritise our sleep.
We were hard wired to think that our diet and exercise alone will have an impact losing weight. Sleep is not often considered here because when we eat nutrient rich whole foods and exercise you are doing something. You are taking action and when we take action we get results. We don’t consider getting good sleep as an action to getting results because it is perceived as passive, doing nothing.
Poor sleep isn’t the only factor in weight gain, of course—there are several, including your genetics, your diet and exercise/movement habits, your stress, and your health conditions. But the evidence is overwhelming: when sleep goes down, weight goes up. Your diet and exercise alone does not impact it more than sleep does. Sleep has a huge impact on your endocrine system. For example, if you’re sleep deprived, your physical activities and exercise can cause dramatic weight loss from lean muscle and not your fat stores.
Lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones.
Ghrelin and Leptin: The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin, the hunger hormone and leptin, makes you feel full and satisfied. When sleep deprived Ghrelin levels go up, make you not only feel hungry but crave the wrong types of food like refined carbohydrates, helping to get a quick supply of glucose for energy. Leptin levels go down when sleep deprived.
Here are 7 hormones that have a key influence on fat burning and fat storing:
Melatonin and Cortisol
Two key hormones that keep our circadian rhythm in sync. Melatonin, our sleep hormone, is at it’s highest at night and cortisol is naturally at it’s highest when we wake up. Melatonin helps regulate your body temperature, blood pressure and hormone levels which help a smooth transition in between sleep cycles during the night. Cortisol is a stress hormone and too much can have a negative impact on blood sugars which if persists regularly and over a long period of time can contribute to insulin resistance, leading to glucose being stored as visceral fat, leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Insulin and HGH
Two key hormones involved in the regulation of glucose and fat burning. The Human Growth hormone is an anti-ageing hormone, heals and rejuvenates cells, increases muscle mass and is a fat burning hormone. When Insulin is high, HGH levels are low. It is important to know that these two hormones work inversely with each other.
Testosterone is a sex hormone, enables fat loss and helps to increase muscle mass. Testosterone is only made at night while sleeping.
- Get sunshine as early as possible in the morning to reset your circadian rhythm
- Create a wind down routine 1 hour before bed
- Turn off electronic devices1- 2 hours before bed
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends
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