The human body runs on a series of complex functions––thousands of cells working together with nutrients and essential organs to keep the body healthy. Whether or not we understand these microscopic interactions or consider them in our day-to-day activities, they determine how the body runs.
From headaches and body aches to anxiety and weight loss, the fluctuations going on in the body influence every aspect of our lives. For instance, you probably haven’t considered that sleep and rest are crucial to losing weight, but they are.
While it might not be common knowledge, quality rest is required throughout the body to give time to repair and maintain itself as well as lose fat. Not getting the sleep our body needs can have a severe impact on the way fat is stored and shed.
If you’re wondering why the diets and exercises aren’t working as optimally as they do for others, consider your sleeping and rest patterns. They could be the key to a happier, healthier you!
The Importance of the Circadian Rhythm
The Circadian Rhythm is the name given to a sort of internal clock in our bodies that ticks away in the background, days and nights. This rhythm is like a biological cycle for the body to regulate things such as hormone release, digestion and eating habits, and it can contribute to obesity if not taken care of.
When we sleep, the hormone balances that control our appetites and metabolism get a refreshing boost. When we don’t sleep the recommended amount of time, our bodies increase the production of cortisol, which can result in extremely unhealthy eating (since the body under stress seeks out sugary and fatty foods for quick energy).
What’s more, not getting enough sleep can upset the amount of leptin your body produces. Low levels of leptin can mean that you won’t be able to tell when you’re full or when the body has received enough nutrients. This tends to lead to severe overeating and weight gain.
Also, it’s likely you’ll be far less enthused to work out or spend energy on activity when all you’re craving is a long nap.
Poor Sleep Slows Down the Metabolism
We mentioned above how sleeping patterns can disrupt or influence various hormone levels. Metabolism, the essential function in the breakdown of fats, is skewed when it doesn’t receive the help from hormones released during healthy rest.
When the metabolism is offset, it affects the way the body absorbs and stores fat, potentially storing mass quantities in anticipation of future energy needs. Most of the energy that isn’t used up during the day, though, is likely to be stored as fat around the body.
Ghrelin and Leptin
Leptin controls our hunger, and higher outputs from quality rest can decrease our cravings. We talked a little above about how leptin controls our ability to recognize when we’re full. Ghrelin, another important hormone mainly secreted in the stomach, tells us we’re hungry.
Not getting the sleep your body needs can alter ghrelin output, essentially hiking production. This in turns tells us that we are constantly hungry and that even a large breakfast, lunch, and dinner just won’t cut it. You’ll need to reduce levels of ghrelin with decent rest to lose those perpetual cravings.
Quality of Sleep
What’s considered “quality sleep” by many is set down by the National Sleep Foundation in a press release on the body’s sleeping needs. According to their reports, quality sleep consists of:
- Sleeping longer in bed (the recommended amount is at least 85% of time in bed)
- Taking less than 30 minutes to fall asleep
- Staying asleep through the night (or waking up no more than once in the night)
- Not being up for more than 20 minutes after falling asleep (until morning)
Positive Sleeping Habits
One of the keys to falling asleep and staying asleep is to go to bed with a peaceful mind. Before you hit the lights and crawl under the covers, it’s a good idea to start winding down your brain and preparing it for a restful sleep.
You should avoid caffeine well before it’s nighttime, as well as nicotine and other chemicals that affect sleep. The lights should go down and the sounds in the house minimized before you get into bed to ease yourself into rest. Settle down with a book or magazine and try to chase the busy thoughts of the day away.
Weight-Loss Advice From ageRejuvenation
Getting a good night’s rest means a lot to your body, including whether or not it’s going to break down fats and move them away or store them for future use. Combined with a little physical activity in the day and healthy eating habits, quality sleep and weight loss are each easier to come by.
Visit the ageRejuvenation blog for more insider weight-loss advice from the health professionals!