Sleep Is the Key for Weight Loss

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The Importance of Sleep for Fighting Obesity

Sleep and Weight Loss
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are key elements for weight loss. However, the importance of sufficient sleep is often overlooked. Research has shown that sleep plays an important role in weight management. 

People who sleep enough have lower BMI indexes than people who do not get enough sleep. The results of the research also suggests that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain.

Some of the factors that link sleep with weight loss can be summarized as below.





Leptin and Ghrelin

Sleep deprivation and hunger
Sleep affects the levels of several hormones in the human body. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that play an important role in stimulating and suppressing appetite. 

Leptin is produced by the fat cells and is responsible for suppressing hunger. Ghrelin is released by the stomach, and stimulates appetite. Lack of sleep lowers the levels of leptin in blood and heightens the levels of ghrelin, which results in an increase of appetite. The reverse is also true: getting enough sleep decreases your hunger and therefore helps you lose weight.

Growth Hormone

During sleep, your body secretes more growth hormones than during hours when you are awake. Growth hormones stimulate cell regeneration, reproduction and growth, and also aid in building muscles. Higher levels of growth hormones means a heightened metabolism, so you can burn energy much faster lose weight more easily.

Cortisol

Getting eight hours of sleep at night helps lower the cortisol levels in blood, while lack of sleep raises cortisol levels. Higher levels of cortisol lead to a lower metabolism, leading to higher glucose in the body which is stored as fat. In order to lose weight, you will need low cortisol levels in your blood. This means that you need to get enough sleep to lose weight more easily.

Sleep is a crucial factor in losing weight. Sleep suppresses your appetite and raises your metabolism. So aside from an active lifestyle and a balanced diet, getting sufficient amount of sleep is necessary for weight loss.

Sleep is the Key to Tackling Obesity

Sleep deprivation and weight gain
Why do we actually crave junk food and don't want to exercise? Sleep can be important while taking this issue into consideration. Numerous studies have shown a significant association between short sleep duration and being overweight or obese in both children and adults.

Using FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), poor sleep has been shown to affect the brain areas responsible for complex decision-making and response to rewards causing us to favour unhealthy foods.

Research suggests that poor sleep causes an increase in overall appetite, especially for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Short sleep has also been shown to increase the desire to snack between meals and causes us to eat fewer vegetables and buy more junk food.

Resources
“Obesity linked to hormonal changes, lack of sleep”, Stanfor News, http://news.stanford.edu/news/2004/december8/med-sleep-1208.html
“Sleep - key to tackling obesity”, Dr Neil Stanley, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24162508
“Why Sleep Is Key for Weight Loss”, Fitday, http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/why-sleep-is-key-for-weight-loss.html

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