When trying to lose weight, get fit, and be healthy, there are certain things you should be doing. The obvious steps are giving up sugary foods in favor of vegetables and lean proteins, and going to the gym on a regular basis. One of the most crucial steps that goes into losing weight, though, is getting enough sleep.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Your diet is directly impacted by the amount of sleep you get. People who are sleep deprived often have more trouble losing weight and weigh more than people who get an adequate amount of rest, even if they are on the same diet. This is because when a person doesn’t get enough sleep, their body will over-produce the hunger-causing hormones ghrelin and leptin.
Sleep deprivation can cause people to crave salty and sugary snacks. Sleeping will help your mind refresh and make healthier eating decisions. Because exhaustion can cloud your judgment, you’re more likely to reach for a cookie when you’d normally have some fruit.
People who get less than six hours of sleep on a regular basis also tend to show insulin and glucose levels similar to those of a diabetic’s, even if they are healthy in every other way. As the body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin, it will keep producing more so it can function – this will lead to a buildup of fat and could also lead to diseases like diabetes.
When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, they also tend to be more stressed, which can make it harder to control their appetite. The stress hormone is called cortisol, and when you are sleep deprived, your body will produce more of this hormone. This will trigger the part of your brain that makes you crave food. The combination of increased amounts of cortisol and the hunger-causing hormone ghrelin, mean that you’ll have to eat more food than you usually would to feel satiated.
Sleep allows your body to repair itself so you can push yourself again the next day. Because you produce the most growth hormone while you are sleeping – which helps build and repair muscles and burn fat – you will ultimately increase your strength and lose weight. Without sleep, you won’t have the energy to train well. With sleep, on the other hand, you’ll have enough energy to stay motivated and push yourself through your workout.
So, is it better to sleep an extra hour vs. getting up early for a morning workout?
Both sleep and exercise are essential, so how do you decide which one is more important? To be honest, both are crucial to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s important to balance them rather than choose a priority. However, if it isn’t possible to find the perfect balance all the time, here are some things to consider:
- Unless you almost always have a good quantity and quality of sleep, sleep should always be the priority.
- If you got 7-8 hours of sleep last night, go ahead and exercise.
- If you got less than 6 hours of sleep for the majority of the nights this week, take that extra hour of sleep.
- If you skip out on a much needed hour of sleep, you’ll probably have a subpar workout anyway.
- If you pulled an all-nighter last night, prioritize sleep! Your body needs the rest now more than ever.
Basically, if you’re not getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, you might want to switch up your routine so you can make sure you do. Then, figure out how to fit in your regular workouts without losing out on any sleep. Both exercise and sleep are essential for you to operate at your full potential in your everyday life.
How does sleep affect performance?
If you don’t lead a very active lifestyle, you may not need as much sleep as someone who is very active. Getting proper rest allows you to perform the best you possibly can, which means workouts can be more intense with less fatigue.
Why is getting an adequate amount of rest so important?
Did you know that you don’t actually build muscle while working out? When you’re in the gym, you’re tearing your muscle fibers, and when you’re sleeping, you are repairing and growing them. Recovery time is essential to your fitness routine, so getting 8+ hours of sleep can help you feel more energized. You’ll also be able to work out harder and build lean muscle quicker when you get a good amount of rest. Sleep will also improve your hormone balance and your mental health.
Can sleep help me stay motivated?
Yes! Studies have actually shown that poor sleep habits and inadequate amounts of sleep can negatively affect your impulse control. If you’re having a hard time reaching a goal and aren’t quite sure why, try changing up your sleep habits and giving it another go. You’ll most likely find that you have more energy, a better attitude, and more motivation.
- Create a schedule and try your best to stick to it – even on holidays and weekends.
- Create a nighttime routine to wind down.
- Keep your room dark and quiet to get the best sleep possible.
- The hours you’re sleeping before midnight comes around are usually higher quality than the ones following.
- Consider turning down the AC or turning on the fan at night – cool air might improve the quality of your sleep.
- Make sure you are not going to bed completely stuffed or starving, either.
Staying healthy can be complex because if one part of the body suffers, you’ll likely find that other areas in your life are suffering as well. While dieting and exercise are important parts of a healthy lifestyle, don’t forget about sleep. Sleep is linked to how well and how much we eat, how we exercise and whether or not we lose weight, and how well we function in our everyday lives. Getting an adequate amount of sleep will put you on track for good health and fitness, help you take on new challenges, and reach your goals!