Sleeping, the mysterious healing ritual for all ails. It now even helps you lose weight apparently. So what does this mean excited dieters will exclaim? Can I diet less, exercise less and just stay in bed to lose weight? Hardly, that’d be too good to be true. But sleeping more does seem to help those prone to weight gain along the way to more successful weight loss. According to scientific research sleep deprivation decreases the amount of leptin in the system which is the hormone that affects feeling satisfied after you eat, while at the same time increasing the amount of the grehlin (a hormone that is produced and released mainly by the stomach with smaller amounts also released by the small intestine, pancreas and brain) in the system which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. So the person who sleeps less craves more food and is more inclined to be hungry throughout the day and never feel full. If you don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep, then you will more likely put on weight as no amount of food will satisfy you.
Scientists also reckon that as the body burns more energy when it is asleep than when it is awake – due to self-restoration – sleep loss also means that fewer calories are burned by the body. So what do all these new findings mean? It seems that we need to take the time to get in tune with our bodies and figure out just how much sleep we really need. How do you know how much sleep your body naturally needs? According to research, the way to test it is to take a few days off, go to sleep when you are tired and wake when you are ready and without an alarm. Get up when you wake up naturally. Do this for several days and you will notice what your regular sleeping and waking pattern is, and therefore how much sleep you naturally need to feel good during the day.
Perhaps you find it difficult to get to sleep a little earlier. Remember it takes some time to wind down before you go to sleep, so being on the laptop, watching television or drinking stimulant drinks just before bed will not help you sleep any sooner. Turn off the television an hour earlier and take some time to try simple ways to relax before bed. Read a book by soft lighting; take a bath or do some easy stretches and deep breathing. Find your own way to unwind to move yourself further down the scales.
So will sleep by itself make you lose weight? The answer is no unfortunately, it won’t. It needs to be combined with a lower calorie intake and increase in physical activity. But of course the more sleep you get the more energy you will have and the less likely you will feel to turn to high sugar foods and comfort carbs during the course of the day. While some doctors are sceptical about these new findings and not all theories have been proven, all doctors agree that a few extra hours in bed certainly can’t do you any harm as it may stave off the hunger cravings and comfort binges. Plus going to bed earlier means you stave off the temptations of a midnight snack run. So, there we have it, sacrifice that extra hour in front of the television and head to bed earlier for the sake of your waistline!