The Most Important Thing for a Better Body: Sleep

Getting adequate rest every night is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your body composition. Chances are if you’ve clicked on this blog, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. The best way to tell: If you feel tired during the day, worn down or fuzzyheaded you need more sleep. If you have energy, motivation to exercise and think clearly, you’re getting enough and good quality sleep. Even with the very best diet and fitness routine, if sleep your is off, your results will be too. Here’s Why:

Sleep Controls your Hunger: Not sleeping enough (less than six hours of sleep per night) can reduce and undo the benefits of eating well. Many people believe that hunger is related to willpower and learning to control the call of your stomach, when in actual fact hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that is produced in your fat cells, the less you produce, the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the amount of calories you burn and increasing the amount fat you store. In other words, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight, but sleep deprivation makes that nearly impossible.

Poor sleep effects your Fat Cells: When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess.” Within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin becomes completely disrupted. When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fat from your blood stream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places.

Lack of Sleep Sabotages your Gains: No matter what your fitness goals are, having some muscle on your body is important. Muscle is the enemy of fat – it helps you burn fat and stay young. But sleep or lack thereof is the enemy of muscle. Lack of sleep decreases protein synthesis (your body’s ability to make muscle), causes muscle loss and makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone – your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning.

While there’s no definitive number that applies to all people, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night and to make sure that one poor night of sleep isn’t followed up with a few more should be a priority for not just fat loss but overall health & wellness.