Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Sleeping well is much more important for a successful weight loss than you may think!
I know, I know… I can almost hear some of you saying: “I wish I could sleep more and better… but I just can’t!”. If this is your case, stay with me until the end, I’ll give you some tips to help you with your struggle.
How does sleeping help me to lose weight?
There are so many ways in which sleep influences your metabolism, some direct and some indirect. In fact, sleep is really a recovery status where the body and mind go into repair mode so that all the functions you need while awake can be optimized. So, when you don’t get enough sleep, the body doesn’t have enough time to repair, and things start to malfunction.
Sleep aids a balanced production of hormones. There are 2 hormones that are involved in the stimulation or suppression of hunger: Ghrelin (that stimulates hunger) and Leptin (that signals the brain that you’re full). Studies have demonstrated that when you get 6 or less hours of sleep per night, you start to produce more Ghrelin and less Leptin. When this imbalance happens, no amount of willpower will work to control your hunger;
When you don’t sleep enough, you trigger the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that activates stress-related fat gain and cravings;
Lack of sleep messes up the production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows your cells to use sugar for energy… so you really want to have that working properly;
Muscle growth and regeneration need recovery time to happen. The more muscle mass you have, the higher the metabolic rate, the more calories you burn. Lack of sleep can slow your development of muscle mass even though you exercise.
Ultimately, a well-rested mind will make better dietary choices because your decision-making capacity is infinitely better when you’re rested and relaxed.
How can I have better sleep?
I know that sleeping well is not as easy as it may sound. So assuming you’re already doing your best to have a good daily bed routine, I will give you some extra tips to help you have a sleep that is as restful as possible.
Do your best to cut down on sugar, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol as they’re all scientifically proven to interfere with sleep;
Eat whole foods that are naturally rich in Tryptophan (like whole grains), vitamin B6, and Magnesium as they all help with sleeping and reducing stress and anxiety;
Build the habit of doing something daily that helps you reduce stress, like yoga, meditation, dancing, painting, singing, playing, etc.
Declutter your room. Studies have found that the tidiness of the room where you sleep is directly correlated to the quality of the sleep you have in it;
Wind down, starting from 1 or 2 hours before going to bed. Turn your screens off, listen to some soothing music ( I suggest you to try the app Insight Timer), meditate, or do some very gentle yoga poses. You can also read a book, but make sure it is not too interesting, or it will wake your brain up… better to read something mildly boring! ;
Try CBD oil. It helps you to feel more relax, and it can improve the quality of your sleep. I tried this one, and it has become essential to help me out on particularly stressful days.
These tips will help you to have a better sleep, but it is important that you are aware that, if you’re having real trouble sleeping, they won’t fix the root cause of the problem.
In my opinion, when sleep is insufficient or has a poor quality, there’s only one reason: your life is not balanced. So my view on fixing this is exactly the same one I have on losing weight: fix the imbalance first. Finding the root cause, what’s not working out in your life and starting from there, it could help you to have a restful sleep.
Sometimes the problem with your weight is not a lack of willpower; there are many factors that can influence your ability to lose weight!