It's the daydream so many people have and you may have had it yourself. You know how the dream goes: you go to bed, as usual but wake up the next morning 50, 100 or 150 pounds lighter and look like a brand new person. But hey, we all know, that will remain just a dream. If only you could go to bed at night and find out your years of being obese were only a dream. Nope, that's not the real world. But when it comes to sleep and your weight, there is some interesting news you might want to know about. Bear with me here.
At night, you may be sound asleep but your body is still busy...burning calories!
At night, you may be lying there sound asleep but your sleeping body is still busy...burning calories! Remember that deepest stage of sleep I told you about yesterday, REM-sleep? Well, during the REM-sleep stage, your body is active gobbling up glucose especially quickly. And according to one clinical psychologist, getting enough sleep is associated with a faster metabolism overall! (Did I "wake you up" with that one? LOL.) That means you'll end up burning more calories while you sleep, even though you're not physically active.
On the other hand, when you don't get enough sleep, the more sleep-deprived you are, the harder your body will feel like it has to work to burn each calorie. When your body senses you're spending more time awake, it tries to compensate, actually conserving energy by shifting its metabolism to a lower speed. In layman's terms, that means you'll end up burning calories at a slower rate. Oh, my...who wants that? Here's something else for you to consider about not getting enough sleep and your weight.
Sleeping helps regulate your appetite. People who don't get enough sleep produce more of a hormone called ghrelin which increases your feelings of hunger. On the flip side, not getting enough sleep also decreases the level of a hormone called leptin. And, wouldn't you know it? Leptin is a hormone that lets your body know when it's full! Also, when you're tired and not getting enough sleep, you may end up craving a quick energy boost, making you more likely to reach for that chocolate éclair or some other fattening snack! So, how can you make sure your own sleep habits work with your weight-loss efforts? I've got some answers for you.
Sleeping until you're fully rested will help speed up your metabolism.
For one, sleep until you're fully rested, it'll help speed up your metabolism. And to increase your metabolism while you're sleeping, try to cut out caffeine after about 2PM. That caffeine may still be in your system, even while you're asleep, making it more likely you'll awaken during the night, interrupting your REM sleep. Turn down the thermostat, too. Sleepers in a cooler room tend to burn slightly more calories than those people who don't. (Just don't go too low with that thermostat, I don't want to see your power bill "gaining any weight," either! LOL.) The bottom line is to make sure you get enough sleep each night. Recommendations vary slightly, but a solid 7-8 hours a night is probably best.
Hope you've been enjoying Sleep Week and tomorrow, I'll be presenting the final chapter. It's gonna be all about how getting enough sleep can help you beat the stress that may actually be getting in the way of your getting a good night's rest! Be sure to come back tomorrow and, until then, I hope you sleep away...a lot of calories tonight!