After working out diligently, eating right, and staying away from alcohol, junk food and the works, are the inches still not budging at all? You’re doing everything right, and yet the scale doesn’t read any different?
Maybe, just maybe, you aren’t sleeping well, and that is sabotaging your weight loss regime. Yes, lack of good sleep causes more harm than we can fathom. It not only makes you drowsy at work, and generally tired and irritable but also messes with your fitness goals. Let’s dive in right away and look at how sleep can make or break your fitness routine:
Sleep affects your diet
If between working, exercising, eating right, and doing a bunch of other things, you are forgetting to get enough sleep, you need to pause and fix that. Poor sleep makes you groggy and irritable. It also saps you of energy. The worst part is that it messes with your diet. Your digestion pattern goes for a toss so you can expect random sugar cravings for that quick serotonin fix and before you know it, you’re indulging in the kind of food that you otherwise sensibly wouldn’t.
Poor sleep and fat cells
Did you know that poor sleep could actually change your fat cells? After a night of bad dreams, tossing around and disturbed sleep, it’s not just you who wakes up tired, groggy and irritable. Your fat cells do as well. In fact, your body experiences something called metabolic grogginess. This is when your body’s ability to optimally use insulin is disrupted. This plays havoc with your body’s fat burning potential. You become insulin resistant, and your body starts storing the fat in all the wrong places. That’s why those morning jogs and weight training sessions aren’t helping as much as they should, in making you fit, because lack of sleep is throwing your insulin off the rocker.
Sleep sabotages your workouts
After you lift weights and sweat it out in a good cardio session, you need a good night’s sleep for your body to heal. When you are sleeping peacefully, your body is supposed to build your muscles, burn that fat and basically heal. But if you aren’t sleeping well, your body’s wear and tear system goes for a toss. Protein synthesis goes down, and your body doesn’t build muscles. Lack of sleep basically affects your body’s ability to induce the release of the growth hormone. In fact, disturbed sleep increases cortisol levels in your system, and that’s not what you want to tone your body or build muscles. Cortisol only slows down the production of the growth hormone! Lower levels of the growth hormone mean unfit muscles, no toning and no energy to work out the next morning. Do you see how poor sleep sabotages your workout?
If you already don’t enjoy working out. The grogginess from poor sleep is only going to make things worse.
Sleep and food cravings
You think resisting that moist, decadent chocolate cake is all about your willpower alone? You are mistaken. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is released by your fat cells. More leptin means less hunger! Leptin inhibits hunger, you see. Whereas, the hormone ghrelin makes your stomach growl for more food and also increases the storage of fat in your cells. You don’t want that! Now when these hormones work naturally, they don’t mess with your hunger pattern. But when you don’t sleep well, the amount of leptin secreted reduces and ghrelin release is stimulated.
This makes you groggy and super hungry. Add to that the excess release of the stress hormone cortisol, thanks to sleep deprivation. Cortisol triggers the reward centres in your brain. This makes you want to gorge on all those yummy desserts, fried goodies and everything that spells doom for your fitness journey. That’s how sleep deprivation causes food cravings. So when you don’t sleep well, your body’s going to punish you by eating more and eating wrong!
Let’s just end this by saying that do everything in your might get a good night’s sleep. Put those gadgets away, make your bed cosy, have light dinners, don’ts stay up late to binge watch the new hot TV show, quit binge drinking, eat cherries, bananas and other foods that induce sleep and ensure that you get sound, uninterrupted sleep of seven hours, every day.
Written by Swathi Iyer on Oct 05, 2017