While we’re all going for diets when we’re trying to shed weight, there’s a bunch of other factors that can also help us lose weight. While the diet is one of the most important ones, there’s another factor rarely anyone believes is important for weight loss – proper sleep. While it is hard to imagine, a good night of sleep is a powerful weapon in the fight against weight gain.
During sleep, we’re basically fasting, although our bodies are working. Sleep is important for a wide range of processes in our body including weight regulation. When we don’t get enough of it, our body doesn’t function like it normally does, resulting in a wide range of problems including weight gain.
Knowing this, it’s not hard to see that optimizing our sleep pattern can help with shedding weight. But, how do we do it?
Leptin and Ghrelin – the Key Weight Loss Hormones
Have you heard about the ghrelin and leptin hormones? They might not get the attention thyroid hormones do, but when it comes to shedding weight, they are the key. Leptin regulates our body weight and satiety and is released by fat cells. On the other hand, Ghrelin regulates our energy balance and is responsible for the regulation of fat storage.
According to experts, these two hormones are the yin and yang of the regulatory system. Any kind of imbalance in their production will result in weight gain.
In the past few decades, the sleep duration among US adults has decreased significantly by 1-2 hours. Not getting enough sleep overnight disrupts the proper levels of both leptin and ghrelin, dropping your energy levels and making you hungrier. This leads to more calories consumed and again, weight gain.
How to Optimize Your Sleep
There are plenty of things you can do to optimize your sleeping pattern and keep the levels of ghrelin and leptin in check. Here are a few ideas:
Avoid Screens for at Least an Hour Before Bed
Smartphones, tablets, and computers emit a blue light that tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. If you want to sleep, avoid screens for at least an hour before bed. This will allow for proper production of melatonin and better sleep during the night.
A hot shower just before bedtime will relax your body and help you sleep better. It’s a simple, yet very effective technique that will help you get a proper round of sleep overnight.
Sleep in a Cool Bedroom
If you can, drop down the temperature in your bedroom for a bit before going to bed. The optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 68 degrees – it should help you sleep much better.
Avoid Alcohol and Coffee Before Bed
Drinking alcohol or coffee before going to bed will surely disrupt your sleep pattern. It’s best to avoid it for hours before going to bed. Caffeine’s effects can be felt up to 7 hours after drinking it, so make sure not to drink a cup of joe before sleeping. The same goes for alcohol which can even make things worse and cause insomnia.