The 1 Most Important Thing for Weight Loss and Staying Fit

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sleepEver wondered why some people lose weight faster than you even though you have the same routine? You might ask why his/her body seems better when you both work out four times a week, lift weights, do cardio, and eat healthy food.

The answer is in this five-letter word: SLEEP.

You’re probably one of those people who does not prioritize sleep. Well, I’ve got bad news for you: You cannot move on with your workout if you don’t sleep enough. To look more fit, you’re told to eat less and move more. That’s impossible if you don’t take sufficient rest. Sometimes people tend to focus on the diet and exercise and neglect the importance of sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 35% of people are deprived of sleep.

It’s pertinent to sleep at least seven hours a day. If you don’t, your diet will be affected, no matter how healthy the food you put into your system. The Annals of Internal Medicine even conducted a study with the result saying sleeping less than seven hours can even undo your diet’s benefits.

According to the researchers of the University of Chicago, your body can suffer from what they call “metabolic grogginess” if it’s deprived of sleep. This is when you wake up tired or dizzy after only sleeping for a few hours. These researchers examined what will happen after four days of having poor sleep. How could four days of sleep deprivation affect you? Here’s what they found out:

  • The ability of your body to use insulin will become totally disrupted. Insulin sensitivity will even drop by more than 30 percent

  • Malfunction of insulin won’t allow your fat cells to remove lipids and fatty acids from your bloodstream; thus, allowing them to be stored there.

  • You will become insulin resistant and the fats will circulate in your blood and they’ll pump out more insulin

  • The excess insulin will store fat in places where fats shouldn’t be such as your liver and tissues

  • All of these will cause you to get fat and possibly suffer from diabetes

Aside from those, if you’re sleep deprived, you’ll wake up craving for food. Some people would like to believe that you can control your hunger if you’re willing enough. But hunger really is controlled by ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a peptide hormone that increases appetite. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you prompt hunger and increase the number of fats in your body. Leptin is another hormone produced in your fat cells. The less leptin you produce, the more your tummy feels hollow. These two hormones should be controlled in order to lose weight. However, if you’re sleep deprived, you won’t be able to control them. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology found that if humans sleep less than six hours, it will trigger the area of our brain that will increase our cravings, stimulate ghrelin, and reduce leptin.

Not convinced yet? Let’s talk about another evidence that involves cortisol levels. Cortisol levels rise when you’re sleep deprived. This stress hormone is associated with… guess what? Fat gain. Cortisol is also responsible for the activation of reward centers in the brain that make you long for food. And a combination of high cortisol and high ghrelin will cause you to feel uncontended after finishing a meal, making you hungry again.

So, imagine if you’re not sleep deprived. Your fitness goals won’t be hampered!

If you get enough sleep, here’s what’s going to happen:

  1. You can decide better, especially in terms of what you should eat. Nature Communications conducted a study about sleep deprivation and here’s what they found:

One night of sleep deprivation can impair activities in your frontal lobe which controls your ability to make decisions.

That means no more “All right, just one slice of pizza!” Then end up eating the whole box.

  1. Your insular cortex won’t be weakened and because of that, you’ll have no problem combating your urge to eat high-calorie foods.

  1. You won’t choose greater portion sizes of food, preventing you to lose weight. A research in Psychoneuroendocrinology found that sleep deprivation makes you do the opposite.

  1. You can recover quickly from workouts because the production of your growth hormone is normal.

  1. Your protein synthesis will increase, making muscle loss nearly impossible.

  1. You will feel energized to exercise and your workouts will feel lees challenging.

  1. Your chances of getting heart failure, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cognitive failure will decrease.

There’s no rule on how much exactly you should sleep every night, but 7-9 hours is recommended and ideal. Any less and any more than that range will cause you to feel tired instantly or get dizzy the moment you wake up.