Prioritizing sleep is extremely important for many reasons other than weight loss. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep should be something you do on a regular basis. Many people, who are dieting and working on improving their lifestyles, may not realize the importance of sleep.
You could be working out, eating well, and still not seeing results. You know how you feel after a poor night’s sleep? Well, that doesn’t just affect you mentally. It can take a toll on your metabolic rate as well, which could increase fat storage.
Giving your body the rest it needs can improve your overall performance throughout the day. Sleep is key to being rewarded for all your efforts. Between working, going to the gym, and eating well, sometimes we forget that sleep fuels all of those things.
Importance of Sleep: Late Night Cravings
Lack of sleep also makes you crave foods that you know you shouldn’t be eating. When you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep every night you may wake up in a groggy state. Grogginess sometimes feels like you went out and drank alcohol the night before. When you drink alcohol, you may not make the best decisions. Whenever I am out partying, I end up eating something I shouldn’t have (i.e., buffalo fries, pizza, or that easy mac & cheese sitting in the cabinet.) Either way, sleep deprivation can impair your complex decision making, which in turn may lead you to eat that extra piece of cake that you clearly don’t need. Not getting enough sleep also makes you feel hungry when you are actually full. Despite adequate food intake, you somehow still feel hungry, and that’s mostly because you aren’t sleeping enough (or you’re not drinking enough water, but that’s another topic).
You know that muscle you’ve been working so hard to get? Well, without proper sleep that probably won’t happen. Why? Lack of sleep can decrease protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is your body’s ability to make muscle. Bottom line, sleep deprivation causes muscle loss, and increases fat storage.
Prioritizing sleep should be one of the main goals as soon as you start a weight loss journey. But, honestly you should prioritize it, regardless of your goals. Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and more.
Of course, there really isn’t a hard number that applies to every person, but studies have shown that getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night is best for our bodies. There are many factors that go into leading a healthy lifestyle, and it’s much more than exercise and healthy eating. Be sure to continue learning what your body needs to live a long and healthy life.