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Role of sleep in weight loss

By Mark Slansky
Food Pyramid -

Sleep and weight loss? It is probable that you never thought of these two in the same sentence, or ever wondered if there is a connection between them? Does getting a good night sleep help you lose weight? Or does sleeping more or less than recommended add more pounds to your body?

Imagine a night you spent twisting and turning but that elusive sleep kept on being out of your reach. Remember what happened the day after? Probably you were hungry most of the day, and no matter how much you ate, you probably weren’t able to satisfy your craving. While you never consciously thought of its link, now scientists believe that your increase of appetite suddenly appeared because of lack of sleep.

Leptin and ghrelin are the two hormones in human body that control feelings of hunger and fullness. And it has been found that sleep has a great influence on these two hormones, intertwining sleep and weight loss.

If you want to lose a few pounds, now may be the time to consider if you are getting enough zzzzzs. Not enough sleep causes leptin levels to drop down and no matter how much you eat, you will not feel satisfied. On the other hand lack of sleep increases ghrelin levels, keeping your appetite stimulated at all times.

If this happened one day where you didn’t get enough sleep and ended up eating more the next day to compensate, you would not sleep the second night well either, as you would either be too full, or all those cups of coffee you drank would keep you up. Thus starts a vicious cycle. You hardly get enough sleep, are irritable throughout the day and your waist line keeps on expanding.

While many weight loss gurus might try to con you that if you sleep you will lose weight, what you really need to consider is the effect lack of sleep has on your metabolism. Sleep and weight loss are linked in such a way that if you don’t catch enough snooze, your metabolism slows down making you eat more and you end up with more pounds.

Here’s how a good night’s sleep will affect weight loss. Every adult needs about six to eight hours of good quality sleep, usually an average of about seven and half hours a night. If you instead sleep nine hours, in most likelihood you will not start losing weight as a result of that extra one hour. However, if you only sleep for five or five and half hours a night and are overweight, getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night would do wonders to your body weight.

How about the inverse? What happens if you sleep more than ten hours a day? Researchers have found that just like too little sleep; too much sleep can also result in weight gain. How much is too much sleep? Anything more than eight hours is considered too much sleep.

Sleep and weight loss? Is it more complicated than you thought? Not at all. To lose weight all you have to do is to find out how much sleep you need for a day, that is to say the optimum amount of sleep you need. For some it may be seven hours and for some others it may be eight hours. This would depend on your lifestyle and how active you are. If you are an active person you might need eight hours, while if you are a more sedentary type of person, you might need less.

Try to get a good quality sleep for the optimum duration that works for you, and watch the pounds fall.

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