Lack of sleep and weight gain: the strange, yet real relation

Resting and sleeping more can be as important as moving around to burn fat

lack of sleep and weight gain

When it comes to shedding the extra pounds, everyone worries solely about exercising and having a healthier diet. But did you know that there is a strong correlation between the lack of sleep and weight gain? And it’s not a simple matter that when you sleep you don’t eat.

Science confirms the relation between lack of sleep and weight gain

lack of sleep and weight gain relation confirmed

Sleep deprivation can have many negative consequences for your health, but one of the perhaps most surprising effects it’s the relation between lack of sleep and weight gain.

According to a research published in 2013, not sleeping enough hours disrupts the functioning of the areas of the brain responsible for managing the appetite. Worse even, this imbalance increases the cravings for high-calorie foods.

However, this lack of sleep doesn’t support only weight gain. It also interferes with the capacity of the body to shed fat. A 2011 study confirmed that sleep deprivation affects the way the body perceives energy intake and expenditure.

According to the researchers, when the body is fully rested it fends better with a low-calorie diet as it doesn’t need as much energy to properly function. However, sleep deprivation leaves the body tired and consequently needing more energy to work.

This would be positive if the fat reserves were used as fuel, but the brain increases appetite and cravings for high-calorie food, instead, to motivate you to ingest more energetic sources.

Sleep and weight loss tips

Sleeping the necessary amount of hours per night is essential for weight loss and to avoid ruining your dietary efforts. You also need to give your body enough rest for it to have the energy to face your physical exercises and make them count to shed the extra pounds.

You can, however, also use those hours of sleep in your favor to burn more fat.

Enjoy the right bedtime drink

lack of sleep and weight gain bedtime drink

Some beverages can increase the rate of body fat burn while you are resting. They don’t affect the quality of sleep, but they will trigger some processes that increase the metabolism and/or the body temperature so you keep fighting adiposity while the body is recovering.

Ginger tea, a smoothie of apples and cinnamon and even a glass of grape juice are good examples of these bedtime beverages.

Choose your bedtime snacks carefully

Having trouble falling asleep because you’re hungry from restricting your calorie intake won’t do it either. You will just be entering a negative cycle where you don’t rest because you don’t want to eat, which in turn will just increase your cravings and make it harder each night to get proper rest.

Instead of fighting the pangs, just choose your bedtime snacks carefully. Apple slices, carrots or even a bowl of oats, for instance, can work to increase your satiety throughout the night without affecting your weight loss goal.

A glass of kefir or a slice of turkey meat are also great due to their protein content that increases satiety and because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that induces sleep.

Drink a glass of wine

lack of sleep and weight gain drink wine

According to a research published in 2015, drinking a glass of wine before bed helps turn white fat into beige fat due to the resveratrol content of this drink. The latter type of fat burns faster through heat, which makes your physical training more effective.

The same research also performed and experimented with mice and concluded that those who were supplemented with resveratrol were 40% less likely to develop obesity.

An earlier 2012 research also suggested that resveratrol can reduce cravings and appetite, thus diminishing the food intake of the subjects.

Just remember that you should restrict the consumption to one single glass before bed, as higher quantities of alcohol can affect the quality of sleep.

Lower your thermostat

Two researches published in 2014, one using mice as their subjects and the other using men, concluded that lowering the room temperature can result in an increase of fat burn.

According to both studies, the body needs to increase its own body temperature to reach a balance and compensate for the colder room air. This works to burn more brown and beige fat since both types are very sensitive to heat.

If you can’t lower the thermostat, try sleeping naked instead.

Find motivation in real stories

It is hard to believe that lack of sleep and weight gain are so closely associated because everyone tends to think of moving as a requirement to burn calories.

If you’re also having a hard time making this connection between shedding pounds and resting more, you are not the only one. Check below one of Dr. Eric Berg’s case studies and how his client, despite having her doubts, manages to lose weight faster after following his recommendation to increase sleep time.