Published: 02/27/2014 - Updated: 11/11/2018
Watch out! Little sleep may be affecting your goal to lose weight. Maybe you are doing your exercise routine normally and you are keeping hydrated, however, sleeping less than eight hours can cause an eating disorder in your body which will lead you to have more hunger and tempt you to overeat.
According to experts of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN) and the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO), sleeping between 7-8 full hours is absolutely necessary for maintaining a healthy weight.
Why do we get fat?
Lack of sleep causes an increase in all hormones that incite appetite and if this lasts a little while, it can cause the consumption of foods high in fat and sugars. This naturally has an impact on your weight.
What the experts say is that the less sleep time, the less concentrations of the hormone leptin which inhibits hunger and decreases and conversely increases ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Thus, we must understand that while we sleep less, we will have more of an appetite.
This theory not only affects adults but also children. If they sleep five hours or less, there is double the risk that in the future they may become obese adults. So now you know, if you have small children it is recommended that you encourage them to develop a good sleeping pattern, at least during your child's first 11 years, as this will decrease their chances of developing obesity.
Sleep and waist size
Also, it turns out that is pretty much useless to practice your exercises targeted to lower your waist if you are not sleeping for more than five hours per night. According to the doctors we mentioned above, it is possible to observe a direct relationship between people who do not sleep well with their waist circumference and body mass index.
In this way, especially in older people, it was noted that those who sleep less than five hours will have a significant waist circumference and high BMI.
Specialists summarised that less sleep is associated with an increased waist circumference of 6.7 cm for men and 5.4 cm for women.
Tests in Young People
Another study that supports the same thesis related to poor sleep and weight gain was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania. To prove this thesis, specialists conducted an experimental test in people whose ages ranged between 22 and 45.
All of them were merely sleeping from 4 am until eight o'clock five nights in a row.
What was the result? Participants gained more weight than those who slept an average of 10 hours, the same number of days, from 10pm to 8am.
Researchers finally concluded that those who slept less consumed more food, especially at night, and the fat ingested at that time was greater than at any other time of day.
Rest and relax time
With this in mind, it is important to have time off and being able to sleep for at least seven hours. When you get up in the morning, your body prepares to activate its metabolism and burn fat, but if we have a sleep disorder and are not meeting the required hours of rest, we will not burn fat.
Other consequences of not getting enough sleep are the acceleration of the process of cellular ageing, as well as promoting hypertension, nervous disorders, depression, aggression and other psychiatric problems that can eventually become serious.
The immune system can also be harmed if you do not sleep well: Your defenses will be lowered and you are therefore more susceptible to colds, infections and stress.
If you want to sleep better, you can try these tips:
- Try to set a time for going to bed and getting up.
- Avoid heavy foods before bed, as well as energy drinks, caffeine, chocolates or fried foods.
- Try not to smoke or drink alcohol - These are stimulants that will keep you awake and decrease your body's supply of oxygen, preventing rest.
- Take some time to have a nice warm bath, if possible with a camomile tea.
- If you want a drink, prepare a chamomile or lettuce tea, which is vital for insomnia and helps to relax.
- You can also listen to soothing and soft music which will help you to relax more and eventually fall asleep.
- Remember that your bed and surrounding environment should be comfortable - If noises bother you, close the door and windows to create a sleep-enabling environment.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2018. Sleep Disorders: In Depth
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2018. Sleep Disorders and Complementary Health Approaches
- Burman, D. (2017). Sleep Disorders: Insomnia. FP Essentials, 460, 22–28.