When we’re dealing with overweight people, one thing common among all of them is that they rarely get enough and healthy sleep. Most common physical symptoms of sleep deprivation can be lethargy or dark circles. But do you know that lack of sleep can even make you fat! Lack of sleep has much deeper effects on your health than you can imagine- It can adversely affect your mood, weight and general health.
Sleep is a function of body that is still not completely understood, but it is known to be used by your body for regeneration, building immunity and restoring all the damage done to your body through your daily activities, exposure to pollution, etc.
Not getting enough and healthy sleep means not giving the body enough time to perform these important functions. The lack of sleep makes your brain go into a stress mode. Your body’s physiological reaction to stress is to store energy, since it thinks that it will need this energy sometime in the future. So, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which leads to higher storage of belly fat. As Indians, we are already genetically prone to storing more fat in our belly. Cortisol increases that tendency even more. The ‘stressed out’ brain thinks that we need to store energy, so it make you want to eat more, especially food categories that are high on calories.
Think about the last time you jumped into the fridge for that midnight snack- was it celery and carrots, or was it calorie laden mind-blowing deliciousness. Yes, your brain is manipulating you into eating that food because you’re not giving it enough healthy sleep. Bad enough that you’re storing more belly fat. To make it worse, you’re eating high calorie food.
So not getting enough sleep could be making you gain weight!
Sleep helps you regenerate. It gives your body a chance to strengthen your immune system. While daily activities create wear and tear on your muscles, sleep gives your body a chance to repair and build those muscles.
Sleep is a good thing, so get 7-8 hours of it. But too much of a good thing is probably not that good. Beyond 9 hours of sleep, the benefits reduce.
So snooze to get fitter!Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo