Oversleeping has always been associated with weight gain but with these changing times, the understanding of how our bodies work also keeps changing. Contrary to popular opinion, recent studies have shown that getting an adequate number of hours along with high-quality sleep can actually aid in weight loss.
Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study analyzed a group of ten people who were considered overweight. Divided into two groups, one was asked to sleep for about 8.5 hours a day and the other group, for 5.5 hours a day. To ensure a uniform diet, all the participants were given measured calories for the duration of the study, and careful records of the weight and levels of hormones were noted regularly. Researchers found that the group who slept for 8.5 hours a day lost more body fat in comparison to the group who slept only for 5.5 hours. Furthermore, the group with restricted sleep noted 55% lesser fat loss and experienced more hunger.
How does the Body Lose Fat While Sleeping?
Let’s take a closer look at how sleep deprivation affects the body internally causing weight gain.
Insulin Build Up
The University of Chicago observes that people suffering from sleep disorders are less responsive to insulin, to the extent, there is a 30% drop in insulin sensitivity. As a result, the fatty acids are not adequately produced causing a drop in energy levels as well. In addition, sleep deprivation also causes a build-up of blood glucose where any more sugar or fat consumed only increases the level of insulin. This increase in insulin levels is highly dangerous as it can potentially cause fat storage in unwanted parts of the body that can increase the risk of fatty liver and diabetes.
Increases Fat Storage
Leptin is the hormone responsible for controlling hunger. Research published with the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that people who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation or sleep loss are way hungrier than people who enjoy adequate hours of quality sleep due to a reduction in leptin levels. Additionally, this also stimulates the hormone called ghrelin that controls metabolism and stores fat in the body. Higher levels of ghrelin mean increased fatty muscles and a lower rate of metabolism.
Increases Food Craving
Researches have also noted that sleep deprivation, even for one night, has effects on the food-related decision making and self-controlling parts of the brain. Consequently, if one is sleep-deprived for a long duration, there is increased activity in the reward regions of the brain. This typically means that these regions of the brain get easily stimulated making one crave more food at odd hours. This also impedes the part of the brain responsible for fighting urges, making it even harder to lay off junk food middle of the night. Paired with a drop in leptin levels, the increased intake of food, in effect, causes an increase in weight over time. In conclusion, sleep deprivation or sleep loss increases hunger and decreases the physical ability to dissolve the food consumed. However, the resultant weight gain from sleep loss cannot be addressed by a rigorous workout alone. It requires combined efforts of getting the right amount of quality sleep, i.e. eight hours every night, along with the right nutritious food to boost metabolism. Now that you know sleep can help you lose those extra pounds, check out our bamboo sheets and bedding for enjoying a wholesome and perfect sleep!