Sleep more to lose weight

September 2, 2022

Many of my patients admit that they don’t get enough sleep or that they sleep late. This, then, leads to the proverbial midnight snack, which then leads to weight gain. Studies have shown that if you take an individual and put them in a sleep lab and force them to sleep only four or five hours a night, they will eat more calories the next day. People also eat more when they are tired.

Sleep is essential for the body to repair itself. Hormones like the growth hormone is secreted by the brain during sleep and this may help cell regeneration and muscle growth during the night. Other hormones like ghrelin and leptin that affect appetite are also affected by sleep, or the lack of it.

Sleep also has a restorative function. Upon awakening from a full night of sleep, individuals typically feel rested and energized. Not getting enough sleep results in poorer daytime performance, a sensation of tiredness or sleepiness, and this can also have adverse effects on immune system. Lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and obesity.

Photograph courtesy of pexels/pixabay
sleep promotes weight loss.

While it’s recommend that we get at least six hours of sleep per night, many find it difficult to achieve. There’s always more work to do or another TV show to watch. Sleep experts have also identified a term associated with not getting enough sleep — “revenge bedtime procrastination” — which is intentionally not going to bed despite being sleepy, refusing to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom or control after a long day, with the late night hours being the only “me time.”

The solution to getting more sleep is not that complicated, they are things we already know. We just have to be better at doing them.

• Stick to a bedtime routine
• Set goals — have a set bedtime and
wake-time schedule
• Keep the room dark and quiet
• Limit gadget use close to bedtime
• Decrease caffeine intake
• Increase exercise

In one study where participants did all these consistently for two weeks, they got an hour and half-hours of more sleep and lost a pound. This may not seem like much at the beginning, but over time getting more hours of sleep may be one way to shed those unwanted pounds.

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