If you struggle with fat loss, give up on diets before you see any results or you feel like you plateau too quickly, this could well be the missing piece to your puzzle...
First of all, how are sleep and fat loss connected?
As previously explained in my blog 'Ultimate Sleep Guide', sleep plays a pivotal role in our bodies natural circadian rhythms and is essentially the ‘reboot’ of our biological clock.
If you haven't already read that blog, go find it before you read this as much of this blog follows on from that larger article.
Our circadian rhythms are responsible for essential automatic functions like going to the toilet, sleeping and eating – all of which are controlled by secretion of specific hormones in line with our body clocks circadian rhythms.
So how does that effect fat loss?
Well, when we sleep less than 7-hours our hunger hormones are greatly affected.
Lack of sleep supresses the hormone Leptin, which tells us we are full and conversely increases the secretion of Grelin, which tells us we are still hungry!
This is bad news if we are trying hard to sustain a calorie deficit!
In fact, studies have shown that people who get under 7-hours shut-eye per night eat 250-350kcal more on an average day than people who get 7-9 hours sleep! Over the course of a week, that could be 1750-2450kcal and POOF your calorie deficit has disappeared.
What’s more it has also been found that lack of sleep also affects our food choices, as tiredness can cause us to opt for more refined sugars and processed convenient options over lean meats, vegetables and natural foods.
So, as well as eating more food, its probably going to be s**t food too!
SLEEP MATTERS and not just any sleep, DEEP SLEEP MATTERS.
Here are 3 supplements you can take to help improve quality of sleep…
The absence of light signals your body to produce melatonin, which in turn signals your body that it’s time to sleep. For that reason, it is important that you avoid blue lights during the two hours before bedtime (phone, tv, computer screens). If you’ve taken that step yet still have trouble falling asleep, you could try taking melatonin as an oral supplement.
Lack of magnesium, a dietary mineral which plays an important role in the brain, can impair sleep. Multiple types of magnesium supplements exist, but magnesium-rich foods are numerous and can fit all kinds of diets: they should be your first option.
If your body has enough magnesium already (most young people), supplementing with more won’t benefit your sleep, however older people have routinely discovered a deficiency of magnesium in their diets and magnesium supplements may help!
Among the many possible causes for lack of sleep, two of the most common in our modern world are stress and the simple fact that many people don’t schedule enough time for sleep on a daily basis, instead hoping to “catch up” during the weekend (a strategy with very limited efficacy).
No powder or pill will allow you to cram eight hours of sleep into six hours, unfortunately, but some supplements might help mitigate stress. One of them is magnesium, presented above, though supplementing with magnesium will only help if your body’s levels are low. Another is lavender, whose scent was shown to promote relaxation, alleviate insomnia and improve sleep quality.
If this article has interested you, remember to check out my first article on sleep 'Ultimate Sleep Guide' for a more in depth dive into the health and fitness implications of sleep and affects of lack of sleep.