What would you do if we told you, you could lose weight by sleeping more?
A new study has found that getting an extra hour of sleep each night could help overweight people lose four extra kilos a year!
In fact, scientists at the University of Chicago found that people who had an extra hour of sleep ate 270 fewer calories a day.
Study finds sleeping an extra hour a day could help you lose weight
Researchers tracked sleep duration and calorie intake among 80 overweight people, aged 21 to 40, who slept for less than six-and-a-half hours per night. Their sleeping patterns were monitored as well as their calorie intake.
Then two weeks into the study, half of the group received a sleep counselling session to help them get 8.5 hours of sleep while the other group weren’t given any counselling. Both groups were tracked for another two weeks.
They found that participants who were able to get more kip consumed fewer calories every day on average.
How limiting screen time before bed can help
Now, study experts are calling for sleep advice to be added to weight loss programs and overweight people should be encouraged to limit screen time before bed, in order to get more shut eye.
Lead author Dr Esra Tasali says, “If healthy sleep habits are maintained over longer duration, this would lead to clinically important weight loss over time.
“Many people are working hard to find ways to decrease their caloric intake to lose weight — well, just by sleeping more, you may be able to reduce it substantially.”
Previous studies have found links between sleep and appetite
Previous studies have found links between sleep and how it can affect your appetite but this is the first time sleep alone has been studied and it’s affects on weight loss.
Dr. Tasali added: “Most other studies on this topic in labs are short-lived, for a couple of days, and food intake is measured by how much participants consume from an offered diet.
“In our study, we only manipulated sleep, and had the participants eat whatever they wanted, with no food logging or anything else to track their nutrition by themselves.
“We saw that after just a single sleep counselling session, participants could change their bedtime habits enough to lead to an increase in sleep duration.
“We’ve shown that in real life, without making any other lifestyle changes, you can extend your sleep and eat fewer calories. This could really help people trying to lose weight.”
There is nothing worse than having to get up the next day after a night filled with tossing and turning, unable to catch those zzzz’s.
It is recommended that us adults (in between the ages of 24 – 64) get seven – nine hours sleep a night.
The thing is, only 1 in 3 Australian adults feel as though they struggle to either get to sleep or stay asleep.Many of us are familiar with the cranky and irritable side effects of a sleepless night. What we may be less aware of is that not being able to sleep can actually add to the size of our waistline.
4 ways sleep deprivation can make you gain weight
1. Raises Cortisol Levels
When we are sleep deprived our cortisol levels (the stress hormone) increase. The higher our cortisol levels, the greater our APPETITE. Furthermore (yes, it gets worse), when we begin to feel stressed (thanks to our increased cortisol levels), our body begins to look for ways to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that helps increase mood and relaxation.
And, you wouldn’t believe what the easiest way is for our body to produce serotonin. By consuming high-fat, high-carbs foods! Yikes!
2. Storing the Sweet Stuff
So, now that we are tired, stressed and craving the naughty food (thanks to the limited sleep), our body’s ability to process this sort of food is significantly hindered.
3. Hunger Hormone
A sleepless night causes our body to release the hormone ghrelin. This hormone is responsible for signalling hunger. A sleepless night also causes our body to produce less of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for telling our tums when it is full.
So, thanks to a lack of sleep we now have more of the hungry-hormones and less of the I’m-now-full hormones. That is certainly a recipe for disaster – literally.
4. Missing Out On All That REM
REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. REM occurs when we are in our deepest phase of sleep. You know when you have those weird and extremely vivid dreams? That’s our friend REM. We actually burn the most calories when we are in this phase of sleep.
The thing is, your REM sleep increases the longer you sleep, and so a lack of sleep means less time in REM. Less time in REM EQUALS less calories burned.
So there you have it. Four ways (and believe us, there are many more) why lack of sleep can inevitably make us gain weight.
Here are our tips on how to get a better night sleep to help you shift the weight:
- Never go to bed on a full tummy. We recommend having dinner 3-4 hours before hopping into bed.
- No mobile phones in the bedroom. Ever.
- Dodge the caffeine 3-4 hours before going (well, trying) to sleep.
- Never undergo vigorous exercise one hour before wanting to go to sleep.
- Set regular patterns and try and form a healthy sleep pattern.
Find tips to help cope with sleep deprivation here.
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