It is crucial to get enough high-quality sleep every day to lead a balanced and healthy life. Getting sufficient sleep not only rejuvenates the body and mind but also plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal physical health.
By making sure you get adequate sleep, you can effectively lower the chances of developing long-term health issues like diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, and depression. But the question is – can sleeping help you lose weight?
How exactly sleep helps you lose weight
Although there is no direct connection between sleep and losing weight, numerous studies have identified a notable association between the two factors. The following explains how sleep can indirectly contribute to weight loss:
- Controls appetite
Lack of sleep can cause hormonal imbalances, making you feel hungrier than usual. The two hormones that regulate hunger – leptin and ghrelin – are affected by sleep. Leptin, which signals fullness to the brain, reduces in people who sleep less than six hours a day, causing them to eat more. On the other hand, ghrelin, which signals hunger, increases, making them feel hungrier.
- Boosts metabolism
When you do not get sufficient sleep, your body’s metabolism decelerates. Metabolism refers to the body’s way of converting food into energy. When the metabolism is sluggish, your body retains more calories, resulting in weight gain. Conversely, obtaining enough sleep accelerates your metabolism, enabling your body to expend more calories.
- Reduces stress
Not getting enough sleep can raise stress levels in the body, resulting in an elevation of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. Elevated cortisol levels can cause an uptick in hunger and excessive eating, consequently leading to weight gain. Conversely, adequate sleep can lower cortisol levels, reducing both stress and appetite.
Does daytime naps help you lose weight?
While taking a nap during the day may not directly contribute to calorie burning, it can bring about positive effects for weight loss. Similar to nighttime sleep, it can reduce cortisol levels, enhance insulin sensitivity, and encourage healthier food choices, making daytime sleep a useful asset in your weight loss efforts.
Sleeping “weight loss” stories
In the quest to lose weight, some people have tried unconventional methods, including changing their sleeping habits. Here are three stories of people who tried to shed pounds through sleep:
Greg thought he’d found the perfect solution when his Chinese-educated roommate advised him to try an extended sleep technique to help him get rid of his big belly. However, after he followed the advice and started sleeping for longer periods of time, he found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. He got angry at his roommate, but all attempts to catch him to slap him on the neck failed.
For Olivia, an elderly woman who had struggled with her weight for years, sleeping for 14 hours a day seemed like a good option for weight loss. Unfortunately, the extra sleep didn’t lead to any weight loss and, in fact, made her look older due to the lack of activity and stimulation in her life.
Jane’s story may sound like a miracle weight loss solution, but it came at a heavy cost. When she was kidnapped, she was forced to eat very little and sleep for extended periods in a small box. She was returned to her family slimmed down, but the trauma of her experience left a lasting impact on her mental health. While her family was happy to have her back, the weight loss came at too high a price.
These stories highlight the importance of sustainable weight loss methods that don’t compromise our physical or mental health. While sleep is essential for overall well-being, it’s not a magic solution for weight loss. Rather, incorporating regular exercise and a balanced diet into our routines can lead to long-lasting and healthy weight loss results.
While sleeping alone may not directly result in weight loss, it is clear that getting enough and good-quality sleep can be advantageous. It is advised for adults to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
If you have trouble falling asleep, it is recommended that you practice good sleep habits such as avoiding caffeine before going to bed, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and refraining from using electronic devices before sleeping.