Are you hitting your macros, exercising, and still not seeing the fat loss or muscle gain results from your diet? It could be that you are not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Most of us know the basics of fat loss and muscle gain. Minimize sugar and junk foods in favor of eating more vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Exercise regularly and try to move as much as possible throughout the day. But did you know that a lack of sleep could be undermining all these efforts? Here are some of the effects caused by not getting proper sleep.
Increase in Leptin and Ghrelin (hunger hormones)
A lack of sleep causes the body to overproduce ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone) and underproduce leptin (appetite-suppressing hormone). Meaning you could be more susceptible to overeating while being less satisfied afterward.
Increase in Cortisol (stress hormone)
Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, and it plays a role in many bodily functions, including controlling blood sugar levels. The level of cortisol in the blood is usually higher in the morning and gradually decreases throughout the day. Sleep-deprived individuals have higher levels of cortisol, leading to more hunger, higher blood sugar levels, and more fat storage.
Increased Insulin Production
If you are consistently getting less than six hours of sleep, you may have characteristics similar to diabetics. Your fat cells lose their ability to use insulin properly. As your body becomes more resistant to insulin, it will produce more to function. The overproduction of insulin leads to fat buildup and could eventually lead to diseases like diabetes.
Poor Decision Making
Lack of sleep can also lead you to crave more sugary or salty foods and make you less likely to be able to say no to unhealthy treats. Sleeping helps refresh your mind and your decision-making processes.
Lower Production of Growth Hormone and Testosterone
You produce the most growth hormone and release testosterone while you are sleeping. These hormones help to burn fat and repair and build muscles so that you can lose fat and increase strength. Not getting adequate sleep reduces the output of these hormones and limits your ability to recover and build muscle.
Lack of Energy
Not getting adequate sleep can also negatively impact energy levels. When you are exhausted, you are much more likely to skip the gym or not train to the best of your ability. A decent night’s sleep will help keep you energized and motivated throughout your day.
Here are eight tips to a better night’s sleep:
- Get on a sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly.
- Create a restful environment – a dark, cool room is ideal for sleeping.
- Wind down before bed by reading, listing to relaxing music, or soaking in a hot tub.
- Keep work materials and electronics outside of the bedroom.
- Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol 3-5 hours before bed.
- Avoid long naps during the day.
- Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
With work, family, daily activities, and regular exercise, it can be challenging to get enough sleep every night. But if you want to be healthy and lose weight, make sleep a priority. For more sleeping tips, visit the National Sleep Foundation.