You can be exercising daily and give a resounding NO to sinful foods. But if you're not losing the pounds you expect, maybe you're not getting enough sleep. If so, the Guide to sleeping like a baby and losing fat is for you.
And maybe you didn't know it, but insomnia can cause great difficulties in losing centimeters and could even add a few pounds.
What is the relationship between sleep and measurements? How many hours of sleep do I need? What can I do to achieve quality sleep?
Keep reading because I'm going to explain that and more.
How are sleeping well and losing fat related?
Dark circles and bags under the eyes, lack of energy, stress, lack of focus, frequent flu, inflammation and bad temper.
Yes, it is a long list of consequences that millions of people in the world suffer because they do not achieve the recommended 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night that are needed to restore their body and function well.
And many of them are unaware that insomnia also causes the accumulation of body fat, which prevents them from realizing their dream of looking and feeling better.
You didn't know that either?
Well, science has known this for a long time, but it seems that data like these have not been sufficiently disseminated:
What is the most obvious conclusion?
That sleep patterns have A LOT to do with the condition of your figure.
And it's not a coincidence. The thing is that a series of physical reactions are triggered in the body after spending a long night without sleeping the recommended amount of time.
But, in addition, as the National Sleep Foundation maintains, inadequate sleep patterns can cause you to adopt eating habits that do nothing good for your health or your appearance.
All these reactions have their causes.
And for you to understand them, it's time to dive into your hormonal system.
Your hormones work while you sleep: a win-win relationship
Hormones are substances produced by the endocrine system that circulate through your bloodstream and influence the functioning of almost all your cells and organs.
They are there to regulate processes as basic as breathing, sleeping, growing and speaking. They also control appetite and the accumulation of body fat.
I'm going to explain to you how insomnia affects the hormones that are involved in the last two functions that I just mentioned.
Ghrelin and leptin
When it comes to controlling your desire to eat, there are 2 main protagonists: ghrelin and leptin.
This pair of hormones has everything to do with whether you spend a day starving or so satiated that it is super easy for you to maintain a low-calorie diet.
Well, your sleeping patterns have a great impact on them and affect the way you eat and choose foods.
At first glance, it sounds a bit confusing. Because if you look at it carefully, it seems ideal that the satiety hormone works extra and the one that promotes hunger goes on a spree.
But it is not as simple as it seems.
What will happen to you the day after a sleepless night is that your body will compensate for this hormonal imbalance by increasing ghrelin - therefore your hunger - and decreasing leptin - and with it your satiety.
This was evidenced in a study carried out on a group of people who spent 6 continuous days having only 4 to sleep, while maintaining their regular eating and physical activity patterns.
In this case, the concentration of leptin decreased significantly, especially at night, and that of ghrelin decreased.
The hunger that the study subjects expressed was so great that the scientists equated it with the desire to eat that is felt when restricting 900 calories a day from a diet for 3 days in a row.
That is to say: if you don't sleep you're going to want to eat everything that comes your way. The worst thing is that you will tend to prefer sugary foods and carbohydrates.
If that becomes a norm in your life, it will not only burden you with extra pounds, but it can become a big problem for your health.
Insulin and melatonin
Although some do not fully understand how insulin and melatonin work, there is a lot of talk about both hormones as the causes of overweight and insomnia independently.
But there is a link between the two when it comes to weight and body fat accumulation. And I'm going to explain it to you.
Let's start with insulin.
This hormone is key to food processing and is responsible for maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
How does it work? I summarize it in 4 steps:
You must understand that the more carbohydrates and sugar you consume, the more and more insulin your body generates.
That causes glucose to drop suddenly and you will feel hungry faster. What a vicious circle!
At this point you must be wondering, what does melatonin have to do with all this?
The first thing is that, although the so-called sleep hormone performs functions such as controlling your sleep cycles, there have been findings that it helps keep blood sugar levels stable and improves the response to insulin.
On this point, science reflects the possibility that, when faced with a lack of sleep, the body reacts similar to how it does when faced with insulin resistance.
And that translates into feeling hungrier and falling more easily into unhealthy temptations for you.
It is the hormone that the brain uses to be alert, control fear and impulses.
At normal levels, cortisol protects you from danger and prepares you for flight. But if you don't live in a jungle surrounded by predators and maintain very high levels of this hormone on a daily basis, it means that you suffer from a lot of stress.
Chronic lack of sleep also disrupts cortisol secretion and that increases the chances of developing diabetes and obesity.
Do you realize the relationship that cortisol has with insomnia and weight gain?
This was experienced by a group of people who participated in a scientific study for which they had to find only four hours of sleep per night.
At the end of the study, all showed a significant increase in cortisol at night. Not only that, it also cost them six times more to reduce this hormone from their body, compared to control subjects.
Another consequence of not getting enough sleep is that being tired can give you an extra reason to stress. Because by causing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, it will make you hungrier, and feeling like you're gaining weight shouldn't actually leave you very calm.
In the end you will end up with a cocktail of hormonal imbalances, mood swings, digestive problems, a weakened immune system and, of course, extra pounds.
It is common to hear people making the connection between their difficulty in achieving a healthy weight with a thyroid problem. And the truth is that this hormone can affect weight in several ways.
One is that the thyroid activity is greater than normal (hyperthyroidism) which causes significant weight loss.
Another is decreased activity (hypothyroidism), which often causes unexplained weight gain and anxiety.
Both disorders can cause insomnia and be associated with blood sugar problems such as insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
Therefore, it is essential that a medical treatment to treat any of them includes adequate sleep routines, because otherwise it will be very difficult to achieve the ideal figure.
If not, let it be said by millions of people who battle daily with their thyroid problems and how difficult it is for them to lose extra pounds.
HGH, also called growth hormone, is essential for the regeneration, growth and maintenance of cells, bones, muscles, organs and tissues.
But it has an extra benefit for your figure: the more HGH you produce, the less fatty deposits will accumulate. And it is very effective in helping you get rid of stubborn fat that accumulates in the belly, especially after the age of 30.
What factors induce the release of HGH into the bloodstream?
Physical exercise is a very important one.
But guess that. Experts estimate that up to 75% of HGH is released while sleeping, specifically in the deep sleep stage, also called phase 4.
Therefore, if you have incorrect sleeping patterns, your sleep cycles could be affected and, as a consequence, you will not release the amount of HGH you need to make it easier for you to lose weight.
Sleep without interruptions to stay healthy and lose fat
As I just mentioned, your body misses out on many benefits when, instead of enjoying the stage of deep sleep, you are tossing and turning in bed or with your eyes glued to the ceiling.
Therefore, it is important that you know the set of internal processes that happen in your body during the 5 stages of sleep, which begin as soon as you fall asleep and end when you wake up.
As you can see, it is not only important that you get the recommended 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
It is also important that you do not wake up frequently during the night.
Sleep is an important part of happiness
You must agree with me. Beauty is not only reflected in the physical, but also in the attitude towards life and the way of being.
Therefore, sleeping will not only make you feel more beautiful on the outside. You will also look better with a good mood and less stress; and I can bet you're going to smile more.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania were able to observe this after studying a group of people who limited themselves to sleeping 4.5 hours per night for a week.
During the experiment everyone felt stressed, angry, sad and mentally exhausted.
But, just by resuming their regular sleep pattern, they showed incredible improvement in all of those aspects.
So sleep well and smile more.
Don't throw in the towel: if you want to sleep deeply, this will help you
If you are one of those who suffer from insomnia, after listening to all the information I have given you, you may want to tell me: aha, that's great to know, but I have tried many recipes to sleep and nothing has worked for me.
If so, I understand you perfectly. But you should know that isolated actions are not going to help you solve the root problem.
You are required to implement a series of habits daily that will help you sleep soundly, sooner rather than later.
1. Synchronizing clocks: define a fixed time to go to bed. It should always be the same, including weekends, because otherwise your routine will be interrupted and it will be more difficult for you to consolidate your new habit.
2. The darker the better: As long as your brain captures some light, it won't understand that it's time to sleep. So keep your bedroom as dark as possible and you will see the difference.
3. Isolate yourself from noise : try to be as quiet as possible. Believe me, no matter how small it is, a noise can disturb you at bedtime. If you prefer, help yourself with a white noise generator such as an air conditioner or fan.
4. Let it all go and relax: Say goodbye to TV, work, computers, movies and late-night arguments. Remember that it is your time to rest and you should have a relaxing pre-bed routine.
5. Not too cold, not too hot: maintain a cool temperature in the room. I recommend between 66-72 F or 18-22 C.
6. Zero stimulants : remove substances like caffeine and nicotine from your life, especially at the end of the day because they speed you up and will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
7. Do exercises : in addition to releasing serotonin that helps you shake off stress, it can facilitate deep sleep. If you do it in the morning, much better.
8. Eat just enough and necessary: do not go to bed hungry or having eaten more. Both can disturb your sleep.
9. Supplements do help : Melatonin, l-tyrosine, magnesium, valerian, and lemon balm are proven effective in promoting deep, restful sleep. The best thing is that they are 100% natural.
10. Take a hot bath: in addition to how good it feels to go to bed clean and fresh, the heat soothes muscle aches and relaxes a lot. Perfect to achieve your goal.
11. Drink a chamomile infusion : this flower is recognized for its calming properties that help reduce nervousness and lack of sleep.
If you start following these eleven steps, very soon you will stop dreaming about a good rest and you will start enjoying it.
So I remind you of the recommendation I made at the beginning: choose your favorite pajamas and go to sleep.
Of course, the next day continue practicing the healthy habits that you decided to implement to transform your figure.
It won't take long for you to see the changes.