Sleep is a valuable commodity for people both young and old, and yet it is always the thing that we all do not get enough of. When you are young, you want to sleep less so that you can have more time to play and enjoy life, and when you’re older you desire more sleep because you’re so tired from playing and enjoying life. No matter what stage of life you are in, sleep is of utmost importance. We need sleep in order for our body to function at its best level.
So, what exactly occurs inside our bodies when we sleep and why is it so necessary for our vitality? When we sleep our bodies experience a rejuvenation of sorts. The body doesn’t shut down when we sleep, in fact or bodies are working intensely while we sleep. When we sleep, our body goes through stages, five to be exact. In Stage 1, this is the beginning when you first drift off to sleep before you dream. Then in Stage 2, this is where your heartbeat and breathing slow down and you are in a slightly deeper sleep than where you were in Stage 1. In both of these stages, your brain waves are still actively working. Now on to Stages 3 and 4. In these stages, you are now in the deepest sleep. Your brain waves have slowed down, and your muscles and heart have relaxed. Your body enters what is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM), where your sleeping and dreaming now enters REM cycles. During this entire process, your body is being rejuvenated.
Most people don’t realize that sleep is also very important for weight loss and maintenance of weight.
Women’s Health magazine and website featured an article about the importance of sleep for weight saying this: “Forty percent of Americans get just six hours of sleep or fewer per night, according to a recent Gallup poll. And groggy mornings and a cranky attitude aren’t the only side effects of insufficient shut-eye, either—missing out on sleep can also lead to weight gain. In fact, an analysis by researchers at Columbia University found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are heavier, gain more weight over time, and have a harder time losing weight!”
According to Cleveland Clinic, there is a strong correlation between sleep and weight loss. “If you eat well and exercise regularly but don’t get at least seven hours of sleep every night, you may undermine all your other efforts.”
In order to get the best results for weight loss, you always hear that it’s all about what you eat and how much you exercise. While those two elements are very important to losing weight, sleep is also on that list to getting the best results for weight loss. A lack of sleep is critically related to weight gain. Basically, the less sleep you get, the less weight you potentially lose. Just like sweating at the gym, going to bed at a decent time and getting enough sleep, works wonders on your weight loss program. Here are some of the top ways that sleep is related to weight loss.
- No more Midnight Snacks – staying up late at night watching movies or working can bring on the munchies. Since you’re already awake, you body feels as if it should be doing something else, like eating. And generally, you’re not going to snack on something that is healthy for you. Your snacks may be cookies or ice cream or that huge bag of cheese puffs you found hidden in the back of the pantry. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, late night snacking can cause you to gain up to two pounds a week. Late night snacking is normally between the times of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., which is a time that most people are sleeping.
- Burn Calories while you sleep – when you are asleep you are actually burning off the calories you’ve eaten throughout the day. This is called resting energy, which is the amount of calories burned when you are not moving. Resting energy has an amount, which is about five percent more than those who don’t get enough sleep and are tired throughout the day.
- Controlling your Portions – When people are sleep deprived, studies have shown that people tend to eat more and larger portions throughout the day. The additional calories add up to about 35 extra calories throughout the day. Undoubtedly, an increase in portion size means an increase in your weight.