If late nights are second nature to you, they also may be what is making you fat. Lack of sleep is closely linked to weight gain with scientific backing that shows why. Most studies show that between 7 and 8 hours of sleep is optimal for most people. Those getting far less, such as 4 to 6 hours, will eventually show the effect in weight gain. It’s because of how your body works.
When you lack sleep, you need a burst of energy.
One not-so-difficult explanation is that when you’re tired you want an extra boost of energy. That means you want more food, often food with a sugary nature that gives you instant energy. Of course, as with any simple carbohydrate, your body digests it quickly and gives you the burst of energy you looked for when you chose it. Within a few hours, however, that skyrocketing energy level dips to the abyss of exhausted and you need another hit of sugary delight. That starts the vicious cycle that packs on pounds quickly.
It’s all about hormones.
While the sugar leveling is part of the reason, your hormones play an important role too. There are two hormones that are involved with the process of hunger. Ghrelin is one and leptin the other. Ghrelin is the hormone that sounds like many moms. “You can eat some more. Come on, you know you’re hungry.” is the conversation it starts in your head. Leptin is like a personal trainer or good friend. It tells you that you’ve had enough to eat. If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s more ghrelin created and you’ll be starved all the time. Get more sleep and get more leptin to help you not only avoid, but ignore temptation.
You’ll move slower and burn fewer calories when you’re deprived of sleep.
Lack of sleep can cause your metabolism to come to a standstill. Have you ever noticed how you just want to sit and don’t even have the energy to get up and turn the television station or get the remote to do it? That slower metabolism and lack of energy means you’ll be burning fewer calories making weight gain easier and weight-loss almost impossible.
A good night’s sleep has other benefits besides weight loss. You’ll look better the next day and won’t have raccoon eyes that are a dead giveaway you’ve been burning the candle at both ends.
You’ll be healthier when you sleep seven to eight hours a night. Studies show that lack of sleep increases your chances of a serious condition, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or high blood pressure.
Lack of sleep can make you mentally slower and less efficient at work. Cutting several hours off your nightly sleep can cut points off your IQ.
You’ll age faster if you don’t get enough sleep. When you lack sleep your body sends out cortisol that can destroy the collagen in the skin and make you look older. It also blocks the creation of HGH that keeps you looking younger.