Finding the right weight loss formula for yourself can be tricky. Metabolism, genetics, how much you exercise, your eating habits - all these things come into play, especially as you age. But what if you try and try to lose weight doing all the “right” things, but you still can’t seem to make the scale budge?
Sleep and Weight Loss: The Two Are More Connected Than You Think
What are you missing?
There’s one piece of the weight loss puzzle that’s often neglected. And that’s sleep.
Believe it or not, sleep and weight loss have a lot to do with each other. If you’re not getting enough high-quality sleep, you’re sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
As a matter of fact, according to research, not getting enough sleep is one of the risk factors leading to obesity.
Studies Show, You Need Good Sleep for Weight Loss
How much sleep you need depends on several factors, but one of the major factors is age. And typically, adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night to be considered getting “enough” sleep. Unfortunately, many adults aren’t getting anywhere close to that.
So if we’re subscribing to the idea that you need adequate sleep to help you lose weight, that alone isn’t supporting your weight loss efforts. But there are a couple of studies inarguably linking sleep deprivation to trouble losing weight.
One study had participants participate in a calorie-restricted diet and had some sleep eight and a half hours while the others slept a mere five and a half hours per night for two weeks. Guess who lost more fat?
Yup.The eight and a half hours crew.
Not only that. The folks sleeping only 5.5 hours per night lost muscle mass. That’s not something you really want to do.
Another similar study also had participants on a calorie-restricting diet. Some of them reduced their sleep by one hour per night for five nights of the week. The other participants slept at least eight hours every night.
The results? Pretty much the same as the first study.
So what does this mean?
Well, it means you could run yourself ragged dieting and not prioritizing your sleep during the week. Then you could try to play catch-up on your Z’s over the weekend. But that still isn't going to help your weight-loss efforts. You need to get enough high-quality sleep every night for optimal weight loss.
Lack of Sleep Affects Your Appetite
Before we get into the more in-depth information about how sleep and weight relate to each other, we have to define a couple of key appetite hormones affected by sleep:
- Leptin: decreases appetite; when leptin is high, you feel full
- Ghrelin: increases appetite; when ghrelin is high, you feel hungry
So when you think about not getting enough sleep and its direct relation to weight gain or lack of weight loss, what do you think happens to these two hormones when you lack sleep?
You guessed right again. Your “I-feel-full” hormone leptin decreases while your “I’m-so-hungry-I-could-eat-a-horse” hormone ghrelin increases. In plain English, when you don’t sleep enough, you’re more likely to crave food. And when you eat more food than you need, you gain weight.
That’s not all the bad news, though. There’s more to this sleep and weight conundrum.
Studies show when you’re sleep-deprived, the part of your brain responsible for rewarding yourself is more active. That means when you’re sleepy, you’re more likely to choose “rewarding” foods like carbs and sugar-laden treats.
Again, no good for the waistline.
*No copyright infringement intended
Lack of Sleep Affects Your Metabolism
When you eat, your body releases insulin, the hormone that helps you process glucose in your blood. But when your body is sleep-deprived, your metabolism gets on the slow boat to processing that glucose.
But your body still produces insulin when you eat. So if you eat lots of junk (see above) because you’re tired, your body won’t process the proper amount of glucose. This leads to high insulin levels and higher body-fat storage.
Higher insulin levels also put you at risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
Lack of Sleep Affects Your Motivation
Let’s face it. When you’re exhausted, you don’t want to do much other than lay on your couch, bed, Papasan, or other comfy surface and chill. The last thing you want to do is strap on some sneaks and get your exercise on. And planning healthy meals? Pssshhh. Nah.
You already know physical activity and eating right can help you on your weight loss journey. But if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you're less likely to get off your couch and actually do those things. Instead, you’ll continue sitting and order takeout.
Those aren’t such great weight-loss activities, now are they?
Get Better Sleep and Weight Loss with These Tips
Before we start listing off things you can implement into your life to help you sleep better, the first thing you have to do is prioritize sleep. If you look at sleep as an afterthought, your uphill battle with losing weight is going to be even more challenging.
Write it down. Put it on a post-it note. Set an alarm on your phone. However you do it, remind yourself that sleep is essential to so many aspects of a healthy way of living.
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite tips for sleeping better. And since sleep and weight loss go together, if you get better sleep, you might just lose a few pounds.
- Maintain a Regular Bedtime: This kind of goes hand-in-hand with prioritizing sleep. But if you make and maintain a regular bedtime, your circadian rhythm will remain in check. And when that’s in check, you not only feel fantastic but all the right hormones, including leptin and ghrelin, behave themselves. And that’ll help you drop the pounds.
- Just Say No to Blue Light: Those schnazzy blue-light glasses are all the rage. And for a good reason. They block the harmful blue rays emanating from your smartphone and other screens. These blue light rays trick your brain into thinking, “Hey! It’s time to be awake!”. So staring at your phone playing Clash of Clans late into the evening isn’t going to help your sleep. If you just can’t tear yourself away, invest in some of them classy glasses.
- Limit Caffeine: We know what you might be thinking, “Boooooooo!!!!” And we get it. That afternoon latte, can of soda, or chunk of dark chocolate can give you the boost you’re looking for. But take it from us, if you cut yourself off at the right time consistently, you won’t need that boost anymore because you’ll be sleeping better.
- Slow Down on the Alcohol: Alcohol suppresses melatonin, your sleep hormone. If you think imbibing in a nightcap regularly is going to help your sleep, you’re sadly mistaken. It also impacts your body’s production of human growth hormone, which regulates your circadian rhythm. So after you drink, you might find yourself waking up at odd hours and not being able to go back to sleep.
- Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary: To achieve optimal sleep, make your bedroom a place for the two S’s: sleep and sex. So move that office outta there, and perhaps even the TV. (gasp!) Once you do, your brain will associate that room in your house as a place to relax. And that’ll help you sleep better.
- Invest in a High-Quality Weighted Blanket: Here’s our favorite little sleeping-better tip. Weighted blankets deliver Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS), which helps your body produce melatonin and serotonin while decreasing cortisol. This is the perfect, natural way to get you feeling relaxed and ready for sleep.
Weighted blankets have so many science-backed benefits to improving sleep quantity and quality, it’s hard for you to argue.
Do you think they’re too hot? Not ours. Because we manufacture our weighted blankets with high-quality breathable materials like microfiber and bamboo, you get all the benefits of a weighted blanket without waking up in a pool of sweat. As a matter of fact, we won “Best Cooling Weighted Blanket” in 2020.
Do you think they’re uncomfortable? Nope. Again, not ours. We perfected our weighted blankets to comfortably hug your body rather than just rest on top in a lumpy, uneven mess. Our proprietary sensory sand and double-stitched pockets ensure maximum comfort.
Do you think they’re too heavy? Nope. Not if you buy the right one. Our general rule of thumb is to purchase a weighted blanket that is 7-12% of your body weight. Check out our chart:
Achieve Better Sleep and Weight Loss with the Click of a Button
Now that we’ve helped you better understand how sleep and weight loss are connected, why not start implementing some of these tips today? And the easiest one? Ordering a weighted blanket. Not just any weighted blanket. One that’s backed by a 100-night risk-free trial and delivered to your door without having to pay for shipping.
Here comes a cheesy catchphrase….
Don’t wait to lose weight with a weighted blanket by Weighted Evolution. (How many times can we play on the word "weight"?)