So this has popped up in conversation quite a lot recently
Its not something people often associate with putting on weight or especially something they associate with NOT being able to lose fat
Its not something i have ever really has a problem with (as many of you who know me will testify to) but i do as much as i can to make sure that im not affected…
One of the secrets to fat loss is..
Getting enough SLEEP
Sleep plays a HUGE role in fat loss….actually, its better if i put it like this,
LACK of sleep has a profound effect on your ability to LOSE fat
I have a few clients that work in the city, and having been there i know what its like
Home but not being able to switch off
On the phone late at night, checking emails, watching the news
It also applies to anyone working in a job that requires a little MORE than the 9-5 you are supposed to be doing
Pretty much all of YOU these days right?
In fact its nearly midnight as i write this stupidly…soooo if you are reading this late at night, put it down, STEP AWAY FROM THE LAPTOP and save for the morning!
BUT lack of sleep not only affects fat loss, it will affect your general health as a consequence… and its not just lack of sleep hours you she be concerned about it is the QUALITY of that sleep that’s also important
Firstly why is not enough sleep bad for you and bad for fat loss
I could go off on one here talking deeply about the stuff i love, the endocrine system & brain science but im sure that would only put you to sleep…actually maybe there’s some help right there.
So ill keep it light and tell you what you need to do but if you want to skip the next bit..just head down to the bit about what to do!
The hormones that cause hunger (grehlin) and promote the feeling of fullness (leptin) increase and decrease respectively when there is insufficient sleep….so you feel hungrier and don’t get as much of a full feeling….sounds like a recipe (sorry for the pun) for disaster
Poor levels of sleep can lead to raised cortisol levels….cortisol as you may be aware is the stress hormone, which has a bad rep BUT is really useful when we are being chased by a tiger.
However in modern times and lack of tigers elevated stress hormones results in a couple of problems.
Not enough zzzzz’s and increased stress has been proven to show you don’t think cognitively, or smartly to put it another way and have a desire for calorific food, due to the fight or flight response as a survival technique (we think with a faster more primitive part of our brain when stressed & also the drive for food with plenty of energy increases so as to aid any running/ fighting we may have to do for survival…something i will write about soon)
Add this to the hunger you are feeling you make bad choices of food …which you then over eat on because you don’t feel full..Double whammy
It also cause our digestion to be poor as blood flows away from the stomach (to the arms and legs for fight or flight), so we don’t get the nutrients from the food we eat and therefore receive MORE HUNGER SIGNALS from the brain
Reduced energy expenditure
Sleep deprivation has been shown to reduce how active you will be the next day and therefore how much energy you will burn (decreased metabolism)…which will also roll over into you performance at the gym, the class or with me…bad times..Less effort and less fat loss
These examples mean bad choices, over eating and weight gain…but also theres an effect on the metabolism which is reduced because most of the repair work which is done at night whilst asleep will not be undertaken, plus a decrease in muscle mass..due to that cortisol again which will lower daily energy expenditure and again fat loss..also not good for those of you looking to add muscle mass through your training
How can you make sure you sleep better and longer?
Here are a few ways that just small changes can make a difference
Avoid caffeine – this is a no brainer which i am sure you are aware of but the stimulant can stay in your system for a while so try and reduce coffee intake and have a cut off point at around midday
Alcohol doesn’t help
No matter what you think, sleep ISNT better with booze
Avoid mobile/ tablet/ laptop screens
this is a biggie with a lot of press attention recently. The screens on the devices emit a similar light to the sun which triggers alertness in our brain and therefore difficulty in getting to sleep and poorer quality sleep.
Try and use firstly stop using them about an hour before sleeping…but if you insist AT LEAST TRY a screen dimmer which reduces glare
Or for iphones
the same foes with your tv, bright screens and action movies that raise adrenaline levels are probably not the best way to relax..turn the tv off and pick up a good book..i hear 50 shades of grey is popular at the moment?
Have a wind down routine
Relaxing and getting to sleep is like everything in life, improved with practise. So have a routine, bath, bed, read, sleep or whatever floats your boat..as long as its progressively more relaxing
Practise some mindfulness
A lot more prevalent in today’s society is the concept of mindfulness, appreciating your life and what you have, meditation etc, all really just put you into a relaxed state from which sleep will be an easier prospect..try
Of course exercise and diet are right up there on things that can help. Eating good quality balanced meals and working out will improve sleep length and quality
So if you are stalling on reducing your waist try and get a an hour longer a night & see the difference it will make
Oh how long do you NEED…well that’s down to the individual but if you are at a plateau with weight loss and trying everything..getting an extra hour a night would be next on my list
Have a great weekend and sleep well
myfitnesspro is a home personal training service, serving Loughton, Wanstead, Woodford, Chigwell and surrounding areas down to Canary Wharf, Docklands, East London & Hackney.