If diet and physical exercise are essential parameters of any weight loss strategy, sleep regulation seems to be an equally important factor. Unfortunately, many people don't get enough sleep. According to a recent study, around 30% of adults sleep less than six hours a night. However, sleep is an essential time of the day and must be adequate in quantity and quality because it has an influence on our health. The effects of lack of sleep can be harmful and lead to dysfunctions in our body such as weight gain.
Here are 5 reasons why insufficient or poor quality sleep can contribute to weight gain:
An increased feeling of hunger
Lack of sleep can interfere with the normal rhythm of hunger hormones. When we lose hours of sleep, ghrelin levels (the hormone that signals us that we are hungry) increase and leptin levels (the hormone that signals us that we are full) decrease, which increases the feeling of hunger. However, we must not let ourselves be guided by this temptation but simply reintroduce a few hours of sleep into our night and eliminate this fatigue.
Greater tendency to choose inappropriate foods
Lack of sleep actually changes the way your brain functions. This can make it harder to make healthy choices and resist tempting foods. Sleep deprivation will actually slow down the activity of the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for decision-making and self-control. Additionally, it appears that the brain's reward centers are more stimulated by foods high in calories, carbohydrates and fat when sleep deprivation occurs. However, an increase in this type of food in our meals can lead to a long-term risk of being overweight or even obese. A person wanting to lose weight will immediately think of going on a diet, whereas going on a sleep diet with the simple act of sleeping a little more and a little better will be enough.
Higher calorie intake
When we are sleep deprived, we eat more. Some research shows that when we lose a few hours of sleep in one night, we tend to consume up to 500 more calories per meal. This increase in calories may be due to greater feelings of hunger and poor food choices, as mentioned above, however, it may also simply be due to an increase in time spent awake and available to eat. Additionally, some sleep deprivation studies have shown that a large portion of excess calories are consumed as an after-dinner snack. All these dysfunctions can therefore lead to a tendency to bulimia and the desire to constantly eat sugary or high-calorie foods at any time of the day and even in the evening.
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A slowdown in basal metabolism
Metabolism is the number of calories the body burns when you are at rest. It is influenced by age, weight, height, gender and muscle mass. Researchers have proven with data that lack of sleep can lower the basal metabolism. It also appears that poor sleep can lead to muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so when muscle mass decreases, basal metabolism is slowed when sleep is lower.
A decrease in physical activity
Not only do you eat more when you lose sleep, but your physical activity could also suffer significantly. However, we all know that a lack of physical exercise is a source of many diseases and excess weight. People who are deprived of sleep, even for just a few nights, have greater fatigue and therefore exercise less, opt for lighter activities and therefore burn fewer calories than those who benefit from a good night's sleep . In fact, a person who has short nights during the week will feel their body weaken and have less energy. She will therefore have less motivation to practice a sporting activity during the day and will feel weaker. This lack of energy will therefore lead to the desire to go to bed later and sleep less because the body will not have exerted itself sufficiently. Which leads to a real vicious circle.