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Can not lose weight? Research says that poor sleep is to blame



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Sleep can be the missing key to your goal weight.

Tatiana Magoyan / EyeEm / Getty Images

You work hard to lose weight. You eat all yours fruit and vegetables, drink a lot of water and crush a workout several times a week. Heck, maybe you even track your macros, count your calories or have a full-on food diary. And of course you keep a close eye on it daily step count and log your workouts.

So why – cue frustrated hand gestures – you can not lose weight?

If you do all of the above, you probably already know that weight loss is a long, windy, nuanced process. You can not avoid ups and downs and you have to keep chugging with despite bad days.

But … when you have everything so dialed up, so carefully planned, it can feel like a strong blow to the face when your body does not pull out. You may be missing a big piece of the puzzle. You may not even know that this paragraph exists; It is an often overlooked aspect of weight loss.

The big missing piece? Precious sleep.

How lack of sleep destroys weight loss efforts

Even though you do everything right with diet and exercise, you can easily track your efforts with a dirty sleep schedule. Think of weight loss as a pyramid. Sleep is the lower layer. Then comes nutrition and hydration, then exercise. At the top you have things like food tracking, step count and complements.

Lack of sleep destroys your weight loss efforts in four major ways, explained below.






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Hunger hormone imbalances

Two of your major hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, all go crazy when you deprive yourself of sleep. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite while leptin reduces it.

When you do not get enough sleep, ghrelin sticks and leptin lie low. The result? Your appetite goes through the roof and leptin does not exist to say “Hello, we are not hungry.”

What’s really scary is that this can happen after just one night with reduced sleep.

Bad food choices

Think about the type of food you want to eat when you are tired. If you’re like most people, you’re probably gravitating towards something sugary and high in refined carbohydrates or something greasy, greasy and delicious.

Researchers actually revealed this trend in studies and the science is clear: When you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to make poor food choices. Researchers do not yet understand all the biological mechanisms behind this, but believe that it may be due to reward circuits in your brain.

pink donut with sprinkles

Lack of sleep makes monks seem even tastier than usual.

Géza Bálint Ujvárosi / EyeEm / Getty Images

Less effective workouts

You may not get the most out of your workouts when you are deprived of sleep. Studies show that training feels harder after a night without rest and that the sluggish feeling means that you may not move as fast, lift so heavy or train for so long.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, because there is no need for it go hard in the gym when you are not getting enough sleep. But there is something to keep in mind when you can not wonder why your workouts do not work.

Stress and inflammation

If I had to guess, you’re probably pretty stressed already. To balance work, family and household tasks under one pandemic while trying stay in shape is – and this is a gross understatement – a challenge.

Most people do not realize this (thanks to “no excuses” fitness culture), but it is not always a good idea to do intense workouts when you are already too stressed. High-intensity workouts trigger the body’s stress response and if you do not get enough sleep, your body will not recover well. This chronic increase in stress hormones can inhibit your weight loss efforts.

How to lose weight when you do not get enough sleep

The best thing is to try get more sleep, because not only does more sleep help with weight loss, but it will have a positive effect other parts of lifealso. However, more sleep is not in the cards for many people.

Here are some ways to help your weight loss efforts even when you can not watch eight hours every night:

  • If you are already eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water, keep these habits strong.
  • If you are struggling with food needs, you may want to consider changing your home environment (eg buying more whole foods and fewer very tasty foods).
  • Reduce your cooking time by buying frozen or canned products (it’s still healthy).
  • Sneak in power naps if and when you can.
  • Instead of HIIT or heavy weightlifting, try gentler movement, such as walking or Yoga, to keep your physical stress levels down.
  • Try to practice “snacks” (very short bursts of intense movement, like 20 fast jumps) all day if you do not have time for a full workout.
  • Consider doing home training a family activity. It’s fun when the whole family takes part, and this can help keep the household on one healthy sleep schedule.
  • Take Stress management seriously and identify tools and techniques that can help you keep stress at bay.
  • Take a look at your schedule and identify areas where you can become more efficient and save some valuable moments that can be used for more sleep (eg preparing breakfast like oats overnight).

Finally, if it’s not your schedule, that’s the problem – you spend enough hours in bed but just can not sleep – you may want to talk to your doctor about sleep deprivation, potential underlying conditions, and treatment options.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health problem.


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