With our fast-paced lives and on-demand availability, our quality and quantity of sleep have decreased to a great extent. Most of the job profiles demand long working hours in front of screens, and with the pandemic, screen time has increased a lot. A study has found that screen time affects sleep quality.
Getting a good night’s sleep has many benefits, from functioning our best to focusing more easily. But does sleep and weight loss have any relationship?
Sleep and weight loss relationship
Studies have found that weight loss and sleep are related. In the research conducted by Rachel P Ogilvie and Sanjay R Patel on ‘The epidemiology of sleep and obesity,’ it is found that in the last few decades, the amount of time Americans spend sleeping has decreased to a great extent. Similarly, in the past few decades, the obesity rates in American have increased, giving a chance of a link between sleep and weight loss.
Analyzing these trends, many researchers have taken this as a hypothesis and found a relationship between sleep and weight loss. Many studies have suggested that low sleep quality may lead to increased appetite, slowed metabolism rate, weight gain, and other chronic diseases.
Though the debate in the medical community is still continuing if sleep quality affects body weight and metabolism, we could see some points coming up supporting the same.
Does lack of sleep increase appetite?
Many reduce the meaning of appetite to the grumbling sound that our stomach makes, but there is a lot more to it. Appetite is controlled by neurotransmitters, which allow neurons to communicate with each other.
The neurotransmitters ghrelin and leptin are central to appetite. Ghrelin is responsible for hunger, and leptin is responsible for making us feel full. The body naturally regulates these neurotransmitters throughout the day.
In a study, participants who got sleep for less than 4 hours have seen a rapid increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin compared to those who got 10 hours of sleep. This dysfunctional regulation in ghrelin and leptin may increase the appetite and hence the chances of consuming more food.
In addition to this study, sleep and weight loss research suggest that lack of sleep can impact food preferences. Sleep-deprived people may tend to consume foods with high calories and carbohydrates.
Does sleep affect the metabolic rate?
Metabolism is a process through which our body converts food into the energy needed. The activities from breathing to running everything needs energy. Activities like exercising are known to increase the metabolic rate temporarily. Research shows that our metabolic rate slows down by 15% when we are asleep.
Many sleep and weight loss researches suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to metabolic dysregulation. Staying awake for an extended time increases the chances of grabbing a midnight snack, thus, making us consume more calories.
Does sleep affect weight loss?
Getting good quality and quantity of sleep is necessary for a smooth weight-loss journey. In fact, research suggests that losing sleep while on a weight loss journey can increase the chances of gaining weight and can also contribute to overeating.
Getting a good night’s sleep helps you in fighting the cravings and making better choices for yourself. Lack of sleep can hamper the functioning of our brain, thus causing trouble in making healthy decisions.
Having a proper sleep schedule can enhance physical activity. Physical activity and exercising play a huge role in the weight loss journey. While we sleep, our body gets rejuvenated and makes us feel fresh in the mornings. Lack of sleep can make us feel tired, and our physical activity takes a hit.
Tips to improve sleep quality
Now that you know that sleep and weight loss have a relationship, are you wondering how to improve your sleep quality? Well, we just read your mind. Here are a few tips which might help you in getting quality sleep.
- Keep a schedule:
Keeping a schedule for ourselves helps in maintaining Circadian rhythms. We must follow a certain time-table for our body to act accordingly. Changing our sleep schedule regularly can show an impact on our metabolic rate, insulin production, etc.
- Sleeping in the darkroom:
Sleeping with artificial lights on like tube lights, screens, etc., is associated with sleep disturbances and hinders sleep quality. It is a good practice to turn off all our screens at least 30 minutes before bed, and indulge in soothing activities like reading books, meditating, or doing a skin-care routine.
- Be an early bird:
For us to sleep early, we need to wake up early. Studies have found that waking up early is associated with sleeping early and getting quality sleep.
- Managing stress and anxiety levels:
Many times, it so happens that due to stress and anxiety, we will not be able to sleep. Essential oils work wonders in helping one manage stress and anxiety. If you are unable to manage your stress levels, it is suggested to visit a professional.
- Don’t eat before bed:
Eating right before bed hampers the quality of sleep. To improve sleep quality, eating at least one and a half hours before bedtime is recommended. Eating late can also affect the weight loss journey.
- Increase the exposure to sunlight in the daytime:
Natural light during daylight helps in keeping our circadian rhythms healthy. It helps in improving energy levels in the daytime and sleep quality at night time. Sunlight gives us one of the most important vitamins, which is vitamin D.
Sleep and weight loss research shows that they are interrelated. The better the quality of our sleep, the better we perform in our weight loss journey.
Having an improper sleep schedule can affect the food we intake, our mood, and our overall performance. It also affects the progress of weight loss. Studies have found that a decreased number of hours of sleep could increase the chances of weight gain.
Having a proper nighttime routine, following the sleep-schedule diligently, sleeping in a dark room, managing stress and anxiety levels, not eating before bed, increasing the exposure to daylight can help in giving a good night’s sleep.
Weight loss journey could be different for different listen to your body, and it is okay to take things slowly. Making a schedule for ourselves seems hard in the starting but once to start to follow it, it would make our life easier.