According to the Daily Mail, over the indulgent festive period, we should expect to gain between 0.5-6 kg. As we enter 2017, many of us begin searching for ways to lose Christmas weight and slim down ready for summer. Typically, we turn to dieting and exercise to reach our weight loss goals. But are there any easy ways to lose weight? Can you sleep yourself thin? As dubious as it may seem, research suggests that there is a correlation between our weight and the length of our sleep, with those of us getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night being more likely to have a higher BMI. But how does sleeping help us to stay in shape?
Helps us to make wise food decisions
Just as the foods we eat can either help or hinder our length and quality of sleep, so to, does sleep affect the amount and type of food we choose to eat. In a study by Obesity, highlighted in Women’s Health magazine, ‘sleep-deprived men bought nearly 1,300 calories in food more than well-rested men’. But the issues don’t stop there. Not only are people thought to buy more food when tired, but sleepy people eat more: an average of 300 calories more per day!
So why does a lack of sleep cause us to gorge ourselves? Our hormones leptin and ghrelin are to blame.
Leptin, the satiety hormone, is secreted from fat cells and sends signals to the brain to make us feel full and satisfied after eating. When this hormone is in short supply, our appetite increases and we begin to crave more food.
Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach and small intestine, is central to the control of our appetite. When ghrelin is secreted, it stimulates hunger and causes us to store fat in the body.
According to fitness publication, Shape, when we sleep for less than 6 hours a night, the area of our brain that increases our need for food is triggered, the secretion of leptin is suppressed and ghrelin is produced: the less sleep we get; the more we eat.
It helps stop late night snacking
No matter at what point of the day you eat, calories are calories, and the more of them you eat, the harder it will be to lose Christmas weight. However, research does suggest that we’re more likely to snack in the evening because we find food less satisfying as the day progresses. Ipso facto, the earlier we go to sleep, the more time we spend dreaming instead of snacking.
Helps you burn more calories
The more sleep you get, the more energy you will have the following day. This means more time up and about, being active, burning calories and slimming down.
Not only does sleep provide you with the energy you need to get moving, but it also improves your resting energy expenditure. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that normal sleepers burned an average of 5% more calories when at rest compared to their sleep-deprived peers.
Although sleep alone is not enough to help you lose Christmas weight, it is an intrinsic part of weight loss. Having a long and restful night’s sleep can help reduce cravings, burn calories, boost metabolism and give us the energy we need to achieve our goals.
One of the best ways to achieve a successful night’s sleep is to invest in a memory foam mattress. Luxuriously comfortable and supportive, memory foam mattresses are the perfect companion for an incomparable night’s sleep.