How Sleep Can Help With Your Diet
Diet and exercise are the two things that come to mind when talking about fitness. However, those two elements are not the only factors that can affect your health. Sleep is equally important, and having too much or too little of it can have a severe effect on your body. An article on WebMD explains the connection between sleep and weight loss. Titled Sleep More, Weigh Less, it talks about how a lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy eating habits by making your brain dull, which in turn prevents you from making smart decisions, including but not limited to your food choices. Furthermore, the lack of sleep can trigger the brain to look for stimuli that would make the body feel good. More often than not, this comes in the form of eating more than you usually do, and your body is more likely to crave sweet, oily, or fatty food.
In fact, sleep has a bigger effect on your health compared to diet and exercise. Adam Bornstein of Shape cited a study which discovered that the amount of fat that can be lost through exercise can be cut by half if people don’t get enough sleep, even if they are following the same diet program and fitness routine as those who sleep properly. This is because the lack of sleep can disrupt how your body reacts to insulin, making it more likely for your body to store fat. Hence, you can still gain unnecessary weight even if you spend several hours in the gym if you don’t rest enough.
What’s more, a lack of sleep can actually lead to muscle loss. As you may know, muscles are responsible for burning fat. Losing muscle mass does not only mean that your body becomes less efficient in burning fat; it also makes you more likely to suffer injuries.
If the variables above are not enough, a lack of sleep can also have a negative effect on your mood. We discussed in a past article here on True Life Fitness that this can affect your mental health, and can even lead to depression. Lethargy caused by lack of sleep can also make you less likely to seek healthy pursuits, such as working out, which can then lead to you becoming even more unhealthy than before.
So, how much sleep is recommended? While each person differs in terms of how much sleep they need, the advised range is between 7 and hours daily. Alena Hall of the Huffington Post suggests this is enough to keep you mentally alert, repair any damage to your body, and reduce the effects of stress. Furthermore, it can even reverse the effects of certain disease. A blog post written by Carlo Scortino for Leesa says that enough sleep, paired with a good diet, can even reverse Type 2 Diabetes. This is in contrast to previous studies, which revealed that lack of sleep can actually be one of the causes of the disease. As you may know, diabetes is directly connected with your lifestyle and your dietary choices, further strengthening the need to get proper sleep each night. Given that Diabetes is a life-long disease, the possibility of reversing its effects is wonderful news for those who suffer from it.
Unfortunately, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. Many people are in sore need of it due to their busy lifestyles. However, extra effort needs to be made in order to do so, especially given the number of negative effects on health you can experience if you don’t rest enough. As we said in ‘5 Steps to Maintaining a Consistent Healthy Lifestyle‘, consistency is key to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The same goes for sleep. While it may not feel like there’s any effect on your body if you get less sleep over the course of a few nights, there is already an internal impact on your organs. Therefore, in the same way that you develop a fitness routine, you also need to establish a healthy sleeping habit. After all, too much sleep is just as bad as a lack of sleep. Make sure that you listen to your body so you can discover how much rest you will need to stay at the top of your game.