Sleep is more than just a luxury, and it’s certainly not something that can wait ’til you’re dead, as the saying goes, or that might come a little sooner than you’d hope. Getting adequate sleep, about eight hours, is really key to weight loss. It is far more important than exercise so if you happen to be skipping out on an hour of sleep to get to the gym to shed those pounds, you’re doing more harm to your body than good. I don’t want to just pound the same drum as everyone else, so here’s how sleep controls a number of weight-related functions in your body. It’s up to you if you can give up an extra hour of free time to get the sleep you need. As a bonus, you might find your productive enough to free up a little more time in your day once you catch up!
First off, it’s true that most people need about 8 hours of sleep. Very, very few can get by with less than 7. So if you are one of the 40% of adults who get less than 7 hours there is a strong chance that you are not performing optimally. Despite participants claiming no impairment, “results of the analysis of 143 study coefficients suggest that overall sleep deprivation strongly impairs human functioning.” We don’t really adept, we just run sub-optimally.
So what about fat loss?
Sleep impacts fat loss heavily.
First, when we are sleep deprived, even for just one night, our insulin resistance shoots up. Insulin resistance, remember, is key to weight loss. The higher our resistance, the more our body has to produce and the more insulin in our blood, the less able we are to release fat from our cells. Chronic sleep deprivation would result in chronically high insulin resistance.
Second, sleep deprivation also leads to increased cravings and decreased feelings of fullness (link). So you are craving food, specifically fattening carbohydrates, and feeling less full than normal. Your will power is depleted (you need sleep for executive functions such as self control!). The majority of people in this situation would eat more than they intend and more fattening food than they intend. Piled on top of insulin resistance, your body is much quicker to store that fuel as fat.
Last, fat naturally accumulates around the liver during the night. Then, during the day our body removes the accumulated fat. This process is regulated by our circadian rhythm, which is thrown off when we don’t get enough sleep. With our circadian rhythm out of wack, the day time part of the cycle doesn’t begin and our livers begin to over accumulate fat. (link)
How to get that extra hour in.
Getting an extra hour (or two!) of sleep can a challenge. More than that, it can feel like a deprivation. That last hour of TV or time with a partner after the kids have gone to bed can be the last slice of the day that you have to yourself. It’s not easy to give that up and still feel like you have time to yourself.
If you are serious about taking control of your health and getting that extra sleep, there are techniques you can use to clear up a little extra time.
For Obligers, start to say ‘no’ so you can say yes. Obligers (see my post on mastering your habits) have a difficult time refusing requests others make of them, particularly when it’s implied that they are being relied on. As an Obliger, it is important to remember that you are saying ‘no’ to some little things so that you can say ‘yes’ to the bigger things, like being healthy and energetic to support your family.
For Questioners, ask yourself, “is this really a priority?” Be honest. If it’s not something you feel you absolutely need to do (i.e. you think “yes, but…”) then ask yourself frankly, why it isn’t a high priority. Are you convinced sleep is really important? Are you weighing the long term and short term benefits (playing with your grandchildren versus more energy tomorrow) or just one? Find out what could make it just a little more important and address that. As a questioner myself, if I want to get something done I have to be brutally honest about how important I really think it is. It’s the reason I never learned a second language, I think it’d be good, but not life changing.
For Upholders, set an alarm. This can work for Questioners and Obligers, too. Set an alarm to remind you to get ready and go to bed.
Rebels, as always, you’re a tricky bunch. When you notice the clock ticking, maybe ask yourself if you’d rather watch TV or have extra energy to get whatever it is you want to do tomorrow done.
That’s all for today! If you want to Set Yourself Up for Success check out my post on mastering your habits to start good habits and keep them going and let me know in the comments what’s working for you!
Or reach out to me for a free consultation on using the Primal lifestyle and key techniques to change your life for good!
Source: Rx Primal Blog