In the last few decades, it’s almost become a badge of honor to brag about how much sleep you didn’t get. You’ll hear people say, I’ll sleep when I’m dead or something about being too busy for a full eight hours.
However, it’s been proven that sleep is absolutely essential. We’re actually more productive and healthier when we get enough sleep. It can even affect fat loss. Now more than ever, we should be re-thinking why we sleep.
Here, we’re exploring the connection between sleep and fat loss, and how to get better sleep.
Sleep and Fat Loss
Think about the last time you were absolutely exhausted. You slept horribly and woke up groggy. The entire day was a struggle.
Chances are, you weren’t making the best decisions for your health and well-being. This is the first way that poor sleep can affect fat loss.
When we’re overtired, we’re far more likely to order takeout and skip our at-home kickboxing sessions. Our cognitive processes decline and we just don’t have the energy to make healthy choices.
Next, a lack of sleep also has some biological effects that hinder fat loss.
Sleep deprivation decreases your metabolic rate, triggers the release of cortisol (your stress hormone) which quite literally prevents fat from leaving your cells, and it causes your body to react poorly to insulin, a hormone critical to the processing of fat.
A lack of sleep can also increase your appetite since it affects the release of leptin and ghrelin, two other hormones that either suppress or stimulate your hunger response. When these are out of whack, you’ll notice yourself eating more but feeling less satisfied.
Overall, sleep is essential to balancing our hormones, resetting our system, and encouraging better decision-making while we’re awake. You’re likely to go backward on your goals if you consistently disregard sleep.
So, if your goal is fat loss, better sleep could be the missing link.
How to Get Better Sleep
Experts suggest we should be getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. And that doesn’t mean you’re in bed for seven to nine hours, it means you should be asleep for that long. There’s a difference!
To help you get better sleep, here are some tips:
- Save your bed for sleep. Avoid working, watching TV, or doing anything from your bed other than sleeping. Therefore, when you do get into bed, your brain will associate it with sleeping, not working and it’ll be easier to fall asleep because of it.
- Have a nighttime routine. Just as important as a morning routine, nighttime routines prepare your body for sleep and send triggers to your brain that it’s time to wind down. You might start with a warm bath, brush your teeth, then read a book. It’s up to you! Just keep the lights low and the vibe calm.
- Say goodnight to your devices. The blue light that emits from our countless devices is terrible for sleep. Turn them off at least an hour before bedtime.
- Make your bedroom as dark and cool as possible. Even the tiny green light coming from your phone charger can be disruptive to sleep and blackout curtains can really make a difference. Also, your body temperature rises while you sleep. So, you’ll want to keep your bedroom cool for the best sleep possible.
- Stay on a sleep schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at around the same time every night and morning is a great way to encourage better sleep. Even on the weekends, do your best to stick to a sleep schedule that allows you to get seven to nine hours consistently.
Getting better sleep is a cornerstone of optimal health. Especially if you’re having trouble losing weight, prioritizing sleep is not something to overlook.
So, snuggle up and catch those much needed zzz’s. It’s sure to be a game-changer.