SLEEP – I’ve added this in to the above equation because we hear all the time about great new ways to either improve our diet or advance our exercise routine – but sleep is also a vital component of weight loss.
This works in two ways, on a physical level and mental one. We’ve heard that we should get around 8 hours of sleep to function properly, the latest research does appear to show that people who get too little sleep or too much can pile on the kilos which leads in time, to obesity. On a physical level this is partly due to two hormones which are stimulated with lack of sleep
- Ghrelin – is responsible for our feelings of hunger
- Leptin – tells the brain when to stop feeling hungry
So, a result of these hormones being overstimulated due to lack of sleep usually comes in the form of overeating, often at the wrong time and of the wrong foods! (-ever got up in the middle of the night & finished the ice cream??!) – I know I have!). This of course will lead to weight gain due to a greater appetite, this also tends to affect women more than men.
Research from a US healthcare company & published in the International Journal of Obesity studied a group of 472 obese adults on a strict diet, & exercise program over a six month period, they also looked at stress levels, depression and ‘screen time’ (i.e TV watching).
The basic results here showed that people getting 6 hours or less or more than 8 hours, were less likely to stick to the program and therefore lose weight. The stress levels were a major factor so those individuals who were stressed (as well as sleep deprived) were twice as likely to fail in their weight loss goals, but also their ability to stick to the actual program. Interestingly factors of the study such as attendance of seminars, food diaries and exercise journals were all positively associated with the weight loss results, though the differences in screen time did not show a correlation to reported weight loss. (this however is NOT an excuse to spend all your spare time lying on the couch watching telly!)
Check out Ricky’s article on my blog for other ideas about how to improve your sleep, or if you still have problems perhaps pay a visit to your Naturopath who may be able to offer advice. BioCeuticals have two great products, SomniCare & RestoraCalm containing herbal extracts to diffuse mild anxiety and stress and promote a good nights sleep.
In conclusion, I would point out that getting a good 8 hours sleep in itself will not lead to weight loss, when you have a combination of all 3 elements (sleep, exercise, diet) you give yourself the best chance of succeeding, and sticking to your goals… & that’s how you get results!