There are many benefits to sleep that people may not know about…
We all know that everybody needs restorative sleep. At least 7.5 to 9 hours in fact, but why is this so necessary?
The benefits of a good night’s rest can…
- contribute to feelings of wellbeing and reduce symptoms of depression
- improve quality of life and may assist us to live longer
- increase concentration and attention span
- assist in regulating blood pressure and reducing inflammation
- affect driving skills positively and thereby reduce accidents
- help to improve memory and mental alertness
- decrease stress levels
However, probably one of the most interesting benefits of regular, peaceful sleep is the effect it has on metabolism and weight loss.
So how does sleep aid slimming?
The ability to lose weight is affected by sleep or, more importantly, the lack of it. This influences two vital hormones, i.e. leptin and ghrelin.
The more sleep deprived you are, the less leptin your body produces. And the less quality sleep you get, the higher your ghrelin levels.
Ghrelin – also known as the ‘hunger hormone’ – informs the body when it is time to eat. For people who are trying to lose weight, this is important as ghrelin increases the appeal of high-calorie, fattening foods, such as cake over a healthy salad.
Leptin, on the other hand, is the hormone that tells your body when to stop eating. It is known as the ‘starvation’ hormone or obesity hormone. When the leptin level is above a certain level, the brain senses sufficient energy.
However, when people diet, they consume less and, as a result, lose fat. This then decreases the production of leptin, and it goes below the regular threshold. This results in the brain sensing starvation, causing you to eat to get your leptin levels back to normal.
The problem with people who are overweight is not that they have insufficient amounts of leptin, but that their brains aren’t getting the signal to stop eating. This is known as leptin resistance (which can increase as people put on more weight).
Sleep is essential to restore energy and revitalize health, however, if you are a dieter trying to lose weight, it would also be in your best interests – as well as eating healthy, whole foods and getting regular exercise – to get restful, undisturbed sleep each night.
So, did you get your 8 hours today?