Let’s all ask ourselves the question, how long do you sleep at night? I will be honest here and say it’s not very often I get more than 7 hours. Working shift work makes it hard for me to get enough sleep, especially when I am on an early shift, meaning a 4.30am wake up call. Regardless of this I should prioritise sleep as it is vital to our wellbeing.
Our bodies go through different stages of sleep, from light to deep, then back to light and into REM (rapid eye movements). This all occurs naturally.
We are normally awake between 10-30 times each night although these are so subtle we don’t in fact notice this.
REM happens mainly very late at night during our sleep. This is known to help with boosting our moods. We may also notice that our dreams are more clearer at this period of time.
We may think that when we sleep lightly, this means we haven’t had a good quality sleep, when in fact light sleep is beneficial. It is the bulk of our sleep at night and helps with mental and physical restoration in our body.
I know for sure I am not in deep sleep a lot, however deep sleep does help with our physical recovery from the daily activities we take part in. If you do wake up feeling very refreshed from your deep sleep, you probably were in this period of sleep for a lot of the time.
Why then is sleep important for weight loss?
When we are sleep deprived, we may find it harder to lose weight and keep the weight off even if we stick to a consistent diet. Having a lack of sleep triggers hormones. Our bodies over produce our hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. By having more of these hormones in our body, this may cause us to over eat.
On top of this, if we do not have enough sleep, our glucose levels may rise, even if we are healthy individuals. This is because our bodies fat cells do not produce insulin properly. The body will actually produce more insulin in order to function correctly causing us to gain weight.
The last point is that when we don’t sleep enough, we feel on edge and stressed out. When this is the case, our hunger hormone ghrelin is produced under these situations causing us to over eat.
Not sleeping properly can have a huge impact on our performance at work or even in the gym. It can also affect our recovery. It is difficult to get the required hours of sleep, 7-9 hours when you lead a busy life, however if we want to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep the weight off in the future we should ensure that we make sleep a priority.