Using Sleep to Drop Your Fat… Can This Be Real?!
Yep! You read that right. “Now, how is that quite possible, Kim?,” you may ask. Well let me get right into it!
Firstly, we have to understand how sleep affects our weight in the first place. It’s really simple actually: When you lack a good night’s sleep, your brain’s focus is curtailed. It makes it harder to make proper decisions, and even pushes you to feed it something to make it feel better or wake up, ie. Caffeine, food (fast), or sugary contents. This is a major problem with someone who wants to lose weight, since you will automatically start leaning towards unhealthy and fast options. So, it is imperative that you get a good, restful night of sleep.
Further explained, there are two things in your brain called Ghrelin and Leptin, which tell your body when it is time to eat and when it is time to stop eating. Ghrelin comes out when you need food, or at least when your brain thinks you need food. Leptin is the opposite, meaning it exits its (seemingly short-lived) slumber when it’s time to stop eating. When you are deprived of sleep, Ghrelin makes its presence very clear, and for no good reason! It is only coming out because you are tired, and your body thinks you need food to fix that, since food is energy. Now, if you had slept well in the first place, your body would actually put out less Ghrelin and more Leptin, meaning you will eat less!
Stop Late Night Snacking!
The calories you are eating just before laying down for bed are turning into the exact thing you are trying to avoid and lose – FAT. If you cut down your eating just a couple hours before bed, you will consume between 500 and 1000 LESS calories per day! Not to mention, the longer you are sleeping, the less time you have to be eating! Which leads back to: Get More Sleep!
Letting Sleep Work For YOU!
If you didn’t know, this will be a super treat to your ears – you burn calories as you sleep. In fact, you burn quite a few! The average person burns 63 calories per hour while they sleep. So technically, the longer you sleep, the more calories you burn. Here are the math differences between sleep times.
4 hours of sleep = 252 calories burned.
6 hours of sleep = 378 calories burned.
8 hours of sleep = 504 calories burned.
Now, it may not seem like very much, but think about how it adds up. Let’s compare 5 hours of sleep each night and 8 hours each night. In a week, at 5 hours of sleep, you will have burned 2205 calories in a week and 9,450 in a month. If you sleep 8 hours a night instead of 5, you will have burned 3,528 in a week and 15,120 in a month! That is a 5,670-calorie difference just by sleeping how you are supposed to.
If we look at excess calorie burn by adding a few hours of sleep, in comparison to exercising for calorie burn, it gets even more interesting and intense! Now, we burn around 14 calories for every minute of running. So that extra sleep is comparable to running for 405 minutes or almost 7 hours! This does not mean stop exercising, it is just used as a comparison, so keep exercising, keep eating healthy, and start sleeping more. As we figured out earlier, the longer you sleep, the less calories you eat too (obviously, lol). Now, combine everything we have listed here today, and you will be dropping pounds the healthy way, like never before. So get to it, SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP!
Kim Shapira M.S., R.D.