While making New Year resolutions, most of us will include losing weight, but here's why it may be as easy as counting sheep if you add more sleep to your list! What exactly is the sleep-weight connection? It may not be your exercise or your eating that are contributing to the battle of the bulge as much as it could be your sleep habits, plus you can't eat if you're not awake!
Lots of models use crazy blood type, liquid and all sorts of fad diets to slim down, but some just make sleep a priority! Heidi Klum told People Magazine that she clocks 10 hours a night, pretty much going to sleep when the children do. And actress Penelope Cruz claims that she sleeps 12 hours a day to help maintain her flawless figure.
Many models I know get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, choose healthy low calorie foods, and do some sort of exercise every day. Two other things I notice about my model friends is that they often eat the very same thing for breakfast - Every. Single. Day. This eliminates the choices and chances of making unhealthy decisions. After not waking up from a good 8-10 hours of sleep your body is programmed to eat whatever it finds first so making it a no-brainer is a good idea! Finally, the kitchen closes after dinner. No mindless snacking out of boredom or temptation!
THOSE WHO SLEEP LESS OFTEN WEIGH MORE
Science has shown that sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on hormones that control appetite, cravings and the metabolism of fat. New research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that overweight adults lost 55% less fat when they got 5.5 hours of sleep per night, compared with when they slept for 8.5 hours a night. In 2011, Australian researchers found that teens and adolescents were more likely to be slimmer if they went to bed earlier than those who stayed up late. Many of us think that if we are staying up late and working hard we are burning more calories, but a study from the Mayo Clinic confirmed this was not true and that sleep-deprived participants consumed an average of 549 calories more than their usual intake when staying up late, but burned no more calories than their well-rested peers.
Sleepless nights will also cause the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, to rise which increases cravings for high-carb, high calorie "comfort foods." And during deep-sleep the brain secretes a growth hormone which helps the body convert fat to fuel. Without enough deep sleep, fat accumulates, especially around the belly.
There are also 2 hormones, ghrelin and leptin, that help to control appetite that can become imbalanced with lack of sleep. Ghrelin, stimulates your appetite whereas Leptin sends a signal to the brain that you are full. When you don't get enough rest, levels of leptin drop, making you hungry, while ghrelin levels rise to stimulate your appetite. No wonder after you don't sleep well you don't feel full or satisfied all day! Prolonged sleep deprivation sets you up to overeat and therefore gain weight. The average American gets 6 hours of sleep or less so if you're in this group it's time to get some more Zzzzzzs! And here's how.
I KNOW ... WHO HAS TIME FOR ALL THIS SLEEP?
Find the time! That's why you made weight loss a priority for the year on your Resolution List! Go to bed an hour earlier and sleep in an hour later. Remember the quality of your sleep counts too so here are some Sleep Hygiene Tips to incorporate:
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
- No late night eating.
- Log out - no television or computer before bed. The images stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Eliminate all light and noise.
- Use your bedroom for sleep and sex only.
- Keep a regular bedtime.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing to sleep in.
- Turn the temperature down, slightly cooler.
- Make a relaxing routine - warm bath, meditation, deep-breathing exercises.
For the brainiac girls that want to understand this concept mathematically, determine your basal metabolic rate with this BMR CALCULATOR - the number of calories your body burns doing nothing, at rest and while you sleep. An average woman's body burns about 1500 calories a day doing nothing, roughly 62 an hour. Sleeping 2 more hours equals 124 calories, about the same as a half hour brisk walk. Plus you wake up without bags under your eyes and avoid eating while you sleep! SCORE!