Sleep More and Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans
A deeper dive into why sleeping more means weighing less.
As if that weren’t enough, sleeping a full night (which most of us don’t do in our sleep-deprived society) can actually help you lose weight.
QUIZ: Are You Getting Good Sleep?
Sleep researchers have a good understanding as to why sleep deprivation can increase appetite. Less sleep influences two key hormones in our body: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells our body to stop eating, giving us the sensation that we are full. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is a hormone that gives us a hunger signal and tells us to eat. When we don’t get enough sleep, the leptin/ghrelin balance is shifted, with a drop in leptin and an increase in ghrelin. Essentially, with sleep loss, our bodies have more hormone that tells us to eat, and less hormone that tells us to stop.
Another key benefit to sleeping more is that it will give you more energy. With that comes more of an ability to exercise and get the most out of your workouts. We know that combining diet and exercise is a key to weight loss and healthy living, but if you add a full night of sleep into the equation, you’ll reap the benefits even more.
So how do you figure out your “ideal” number for sleep? Although eight hours is definitely the average for most people, there is indeed a range. On your next vacation, don’t bother setting an alarm. Instead, track your bedtime and wake time every day for that week. Then average the amount of nightly sleep from nights four to seven. This will give you a good estimate of your ideal sleep need. It is very likely that you might have some sleep deprivation just before going on vacation, so the first few nights without an alarm are likely catching up from the sleep loss. After a few nights, you’ll be better rested and you can get a better sense as to how much sleep you need.