You’ve read all the best fitness books, changed your diet and exercise on a regular basis. But for some reason, you are still not losing weight. While it may appear that you are doing everything you need to do in order to get fit, you might be overlooking one essential factor — sleep.
Lack of sleep is one of the most common reasons why so many individuals can’t lose weight, despite eating well and exercising. According to The Journal of The American Medical Association, lack of sufficient rest not only increases hunger but it also negatively affects the body’s metabolism. Increased hunger and a slow metabolism are two essential ingredients for steady weight gain.
If you are having trouble losing weight, and you’ve already evaluated your eating habits and workout regimen then maybe it’s time to take a look at your sleep patterns. Do you go to bed at a decent hour? Are you getting at least six hours of sleep every night? Do you wake up more than a few times over the course of the night? Do you feel sluggish during the day?
These are important questions to ask, because the answers may indicate that you are not getting a sufficient amount of rest. The effects of sleep loss can be damaging to any workout because of two main reasons:
1. Lack of sleep increases affects cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. Therefore, you may still feel hungry despite the fact that you may be eating enough throughout the day.
2. Lack of sleep causes fat storage, as it interferes with the body’s natural ability to metabolize carbohydrates. Carbohydrates produce sugar, which leads to the build up of body fat.
The fact is that quality sleep is just as important as eating right and getting enough exercise. Additionally, your muscles need a sufficient amount of rest in order to recover from workouts properly. This helps avoid injuries, and gives your body enough time to ready itself for your next workout.
If you notice that you are not getting enough sleep, and it is affecting your ability to lose weight effectively then try some of the following tips:
• Don’t exercise before bedtime. When your endorphins are pumping, you feel energized and excited, which makes it hard to relax and fall asleep. Give yourself at least three hours to unwind before bedtime.
• Don’t eat a meal or a snack right before you go to bed. It’s hard to fall asleep on a full stomach, because your body is busy metabolizing food and producing energy.
• Nip naps in the bud. Sure, afternoon naps are nice and cozy, especially after a hard workout. But they inhibit your ability to fall asleep at night.
• Try meditating or breathing exercises at least 15 minutes before bedtime. This will help your body relax and ready itself for a good night sleep.
• Keep your bedroom dark and quite, and don’t watch television in bed. You don’t want to stimulate your sense, you want to calm and relax them.