Weight loss is a hot topic and has been for several years. Shows like The Biggest Loser set the tone for the standard, tried-and-true way to lose weight. Historically, what we’ve been told is that we will lose weight if we eat less and move more. Calories in, calories out. This seems to be the motto of just about every fitness trainer out there. There is merit to the value of diet and exercise, but there’s also more to the weight loss story than that. If you’ve been struggling with stubborn fat, we can help. First, by developing a personalized weight loss plan for you. Second, by getting real about the simple factors that can contribute to weight loss difficulties. Here, we’ll focus on sleep.
What does sleep deprivation even mean? If one gets a good 7 hours on most nights, isn’t that sufficient? Maybe not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that sleep deprivation affects more than 35% of us. Interestingly, about the same percentage of the population is obese. Coincidence? It doesn’t seem so.
The Annals of Internal Medicine had published study findings that directly relate sleep to weight loss obstacles. In the study, participants remained on the same diet from beginning to end. Dieters were placed into different sleep schedule groups and then followed for weight loss success. Among participants who were granted sufficient sleep of at least 7 hours a night consistently, the majority of weight lost was fat (not muscle). These successful dieters were than switched into a poor sleep schedule. At that point, their weight loss decreased by half.
How Sleep Deprivation Affects the Body
Sleep and fat go hand-in-hand much more than one may expect. It’s logical to recognize that a lack of sleep may get in the way of wanting to exercise. Beyond that, studies show just how strongly sleep affects weight loss journey:
- Researchers at the University of Chicago came up with the term “metabolic grogginess” to describe what happens in the body when sleep is lacking. Without sufficient, deep slumber, insulin resistance occurs. When one becomes insulin resistant, more fat will be stored in the body.
- Sleep deprivation disrupts the production of two hormones integral to weight management. Without sleep, the production of leptin decreases. Simultaneously, the production of ghrelin increases. This is the perfect imbalance in which hunger sensations increase and caloric burn decreases. Another chemical disruption that occurs without sleep is the increase in cortisol production. This stress hormone further impedes weight loss by activating the pleasure centers in the brain to crave the very foods that cause weight gain.
- Some have described sleep deprivation as a mild form of intoxication. The grogginess that occurs when we don’t sleep well is similar to feeling tipsy. It is in this state when self-discipline gets overridden by inaccurate reasoning. We tell ourselves that that extra piece of cake won’t really make that big a difference; that we can just work harder tomorrow.
If you’re on your personal weight loss journey, sleep is a matter of importance. Additionally, support is also necessary. To learn more about our medical weight loss services, schedule a consultation in our Henderson office just outside of Las Vegas.