Hidden between the cheeseburgers, endless slices of pizza, and one too many lazy days around
the house, sleep deprivation may be the sleeping monster that’s preventing you from
shedding those pesky pounds or causing the numbers on the scale to go-up. One study
revealed that shedding even thirty minutes off your weekday sleep schedule can increase your
risk of obesity and diabetes. In other words, how can you live a healthy lifestyle if you don’t
have the energy for it?
Your Body Needs Sleep
Aside from making your hair look like a rat’s nest and causing a super weird series of stretches, getting a sufficient amount of sleep is important to almost all of your body’s physical networks. Lack of sleep can have negative repercussions in cognitive thinking including, memory, reaction-time, and decision making. Your body has sleep to thank for it’s R&R, repair and restoration, giving your body the rejuvenation it needs to tackle the activities of the next day.
In a nutshell, your body works in a domino effect; if one variable goes down, it brings every other variable down with it. Sleep deprivation leads to an increase in your stress hormone cortisol levels-i.e, making you reach for everything in the pantry and fridge, strengthening your relationship with Little Debbie. Classic comfort food causes a reaction in your brain that helps your body produce serotonin-a chemical that calms your stress.
Lack of sleep causes the mitochondria in your cells to shut down, preventing them from digesting food, leaving sugar in your blood, and ultimately results in annoyingly high blood sugar. Sleep deprivation also makes fat cells 30 percent less able to put up with insulin.
When you’re needing to catch some z’s, your hormones feel the effects too, increasing your ghrelin levels, causing to get cozy with some pizza rolls, and decreasing leptin, letting you know when you’re full.
When you’re behind on your sleep, your body kicks into do-or-die mode. Due to lack of sleep, your metabolism loses speed in order to preserve the body’s resources.
A Cure for the Sleepless
Lucky for you, there’s a way to make sure you count as many sheep as your heart’s content and still shed those pesky extra pounds. Set a bedtime. You should be giving your body at least seven and a half hours of R&R, but keep everything in your routine consistent. If you’re still struggling to hit the hay, start a sleep diary. Log what time you’re going to bed, your estimate of what time you fall asleep, what time you wake up, and if you’re rising from your slumber at ungodly hours of the night. Don’t forget to jot down anything that may hinder your sleep schedule: coffee, alcohol, stress, medications, exercise, etc. Last, but certainly not least, PUT SLEEP AT THE TOP OF YOUR TO-DO LIST. You wouldn’t put paying your bills on the back-burner, so why would you do it to your sleep?