Obesity is now a worldwide problem. More than two in three adults are considered overweight or obese. Aside from flabby stomach and saggy cellulite, having excess pounds increases the risk of getting numerous diseases. With these facts, obesity is indeed an epidemic that needs to be stopped or at least controlled. In response, government institutions and nonprofit organisations are advocating for us all to be healthier. These groups are championing dieting programs and workouts to battle weight gain.
While retaining a healthy diet and following a regular exercise routine are primary activities that trim excess fat, getting sufficient quality sleep is just as essential to achieving our weight loss goals. To shed light on this, let us explore what sleep does to our body.
We spend a third of our lives practically sleeping. This fact shows how important this activity is.
But do you know that scientists have not come up with a definite reason why we sleep? They believe there is more feeling more active, alert and refreshed after a good night’s sleep shows it has done. They were able to come up with four theories that explain our need for this nightly activity. According to these theories, sleep puts our body in an unconscious mode to:
- Minimise the risk of endangering our lives in the dark (inactivity theory)
- Conserve energy at nighttime (energy conservation theory)
- Restore the body after experiencing physical and mental stress (restorative theories)
- Rewire the brain for new memories and learning after a day of sensory experience (brain plasticity theory).
Doctors also say sleep contributes to bodily processes, including enhanced immune system and regulation of hormones.
Public Health Concern
Doctors are now acknowledging with alarm the disruptions made by an insufficient sleep to many of our bodily functions. Just like obesity, sleep deprivation is now a public health concern. These sleep problems result in many major accidents such as vehicle crashes, industrial catastrophes, and deadly errors in the workplace. Experts also attribute sleep curtailment to many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, depression, and obesity.
The question is, what does sleep do to our body that even a night of deprivation can lead to many problems?
Sleep and Weight Management
Sleep plays many essential roles in our body. Among its tasks is a contributor to weight loss. In fact, experts believe that sleep is paramount in any weight management program. No matter how healthy your diet or how extensive your workout, you still cannot benefit from them if you are sleep-deprived. Why so? Here are some reasons:
- Lack of sleep changes how body respond to fat – Besides making the production of ghrelin and leptin out of whack, insufficient sleep also alters our body’s response to insulin, a hormone responsible for preventing fat storage. Lack of sleep triggers insulin resistance, a condition where the body does not properly use insulin.
- Sleep allows the optimal release of hunger hormones – As mentioned above, sleep regulates the release of hormones in our body, which include ghrelin and leptin. Lack of slumber increases levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone and decreases leptin, the satiety hormone.
- It helps in burning calories – Sleeping is as ideal as exercising in burning calories. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study showed that people who have enough sleep torched 20% more calories after a meal than those suffering sleep deprivation.
- It aids you to choose nutritious food in groceries – Never shop for food when you sleep-deprived. In a study, men sleeping less than the ideal opt to buy food having about 1,300 calories more than their well-slept counterparts.
- It makes you a mindful eater – Having quality sleep keeps your mind sharp and focused. Sleepiness, on the other hand, lowers your inhibitions. Being attentive of what you eat reduces the risk of overeating. It improves your decision-making, especially on which foods to eat.
Knowing the importance of sleep, you should make quality sleep a priority every night. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. One way of doing this move is by making your bed comfortable by investing on quality mattress, such as a twin memory foam mattress.
Just like eating, sleeping is a necessity for our survival. Aside from giving our body its much-needed rest, it is also responsible for keeping our bodily processes in check, including our metabolism. A nightly dose of quality sleep is a key to maintaining our weight, safety and overall health.