In today’s world, most people wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds. We all know that diet and exercise are important factors in weight loss, but there’s another factor that often gets overlooked: your quality of sleep.
Sleep Affects Every Body System – Including Weight Loss
Sleep remains a fairly mysterious part of life, but scientists are growing aware of its importance. During sleep, your body enters a low-energy “maintenance” state that allows it to refresh many important systems.
For example, sleep is essential for regulating blood pressure. Sleeping less not only throws this out of alignment, but contributes to problems with concentration, decision-making and more.
Not surprisingly, whether you lose weight is directly affected, too.
Let’s look at some of the ways sleep impacts weight:
Losing Sleep Makes You Hungry
When you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep in a night, your body ramps up for trouble, preparing you to find and stockpile calories. It limits the release of hormones that tell you when you’re full, while letting those that signal hunger have free reign.
Poor Sleep Affects Impulse Control
Studies have shown sleep deprivation can have effects comparable to alcohol intoxication. It’s much more difficult to control impulses and assess risks while you are tired, so you might find yourself eating even when you don’t really want to.
Metabolism Depends on Sleep
Metabolism refers to all the cellular processes that help your body run, especially the conversion of food into energy. Your metabolism plays a major role in burning stored fat and preventing food from becoming fat in the first place. Poor sleep can significantly hinder these functions.
Bad Sleep Stresses You Out
Sleeping poorly causes the release of stress hormones – including cortisol, another chemical that signals your body to reduce energy consumption and store food as fat. It can take several days of good sleep to reset these functions to their proper levels.
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