The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Weight Loss

A growing number of rigorous health studies are showing a link between lack of sleep and weight loss. Sleep Deprivation is a badge of honor among the stressed out and overworked American work force. They no longer make it home in time for dinner and they always leave vacation days on the table. Children also are forsaking their pillows for video games and homework. Exhausted families, too tired to cook, turn to cheap and easy fast food restaurants. They then land in front of the television set instead of taking a walk around the neighborhood. The result is that almost 70 percent of all Americans are obese. American children contribute to this trend with 25 percent of 2 to 5 year-old children already topping the scales in the obese category.

Lack of Sleep and Weight Loss

Lack of Sleep and Weight Loss – Best time to sleep

Americans seem to think that the best time to sleep is after the Letterman show and before 6 am. That gives them a scant six hours sleep. They might be surprised to learn the results of a six-year Japanese study that tracked the sleep habits of 260 people. It reported that those persons who slept less than six hours had a 35% increased risk of gaining at least 11 pounds. The crafty person looking for an easy Weight Loss Diet might just think I’ll sleep in and lose a few pounds. Well they need to be careful not to add too many hours. The study participants who slept more than 9 hours a night had a 25% greater risk of gaining 11 pounds. The correlation between a lack of sleep and weight loss difficulty seems to disappear in the 7 to 8 hours range.

Lack of Sleep and Weight Loss – Hormones

There are real physiological responses to a lack of sleep that make it hard for anyone, regardless of their Weight Loss Mindset, to be a successful dieter. Two hormones account for the correlation between lack of sleep and weight loss issues. Just one night of fitful sleep less than 4.5 hours can wreak havoc with the two hormones leptin and gherlin. Leptin is the hormone responsible for regulating the appetite. The less sleep a person gets, the less leptin their body produces. Now for the double whammy. As the amount of leptin decreases the amount of ghrelin increases. Ghrelin is the hormone that drives people to eat more. Not only do they want food, they start to crave simple carbohydrates. For most people that’s a signal to reach for doughnuts and sugary coffee as a morning starter. This hormonal imbalance might also be the reason that sleep deprived dieters lose more lean muscle than other dieters. It appears that the brain gets an extra dose of sugar to compensate for the lack of sleep. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Therefore it becomes even more difficult to lose weight.

Dieters might turn to Vitamins for Weight Loss in an attempt to minimize the impact of a chronic lack of sleep. There are studies that show this might not be a bad idea. Vitamin B12 is linked to the body’s ability to metabolize calories. Therefore many weight loss clinics have begun to include B12 injections to rev up a dieter’s metabolism. In a few recent studies, dieters with high levels of Vitamin D in their bodies have lost more weight on low-calorie diets, than dieters with lower levels. The reason for this is currently unclear. But dieters with Vitamin D deficiencies should consider supplements. Omega 3 helps to regulate insulin. If a person has too much insulin in their body, it is always being given the signal to take in more calories for the cells to use. It may be possible therefore to help a body compensate for the connection between lack of sleep and weight loss, but it has to be done carefully and consistently with diet and exercise.