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Did you know your sleep habits can affect your health? Confirmed by researchers, not getting enough sleep can affect your weight loss directly. More than one-third of Americans are not getting the adequate seven hours or more of sleep per night. When short on sleep, our judgement becomes cloudy. Think of sleep as nutrition to the brain and without it, we don’t have the mental clarity to make wise choices. The importance of sleep cannot be underestimated.

Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, the level of ghrelin goes up while your level of leptin goes down. Let’s not forget the hormone cortisol. When you don’t sleep enough, cortisol levels rise. Not only does cortisol regulate the food reward centers in your brain that make you want to eat more food, but cortisol can also hamper the breakdown of fat for energy and increase breakdown of muscle.

Here are two instances where sleep is detrimental to your health to show you the importance of sleep:

Weight Control

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, dieters were put on different sleep schedules, one with ample hours and the other with less than seven hours per night. The results revealed that with adequate sleep, dieters lost fat, not muscle during the study. The sleep deprived dieters experienced hunger, less satisfaction after meals, and lack of energy to exercise. The sleepy group had less fat loss and more muscle loss when averaging just over 5 hours of sleep per night. In another study, researchers found a 30% drop in insulin sensitivity caused by lack of sleep. When your body doesn’t respond to insulin, the excess begins to build up and results in issues leading to diabetes.

Tip: Turn out the lights, including the cell phone. Darkness cues your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light suppresses it.

Injury Recovery

When we sleep, the brain launches the release of hormones that promote tissue growth, while aiding cell reproduction, cell regeneration and regulation of your body’s metabolism. During sleep, your brain is at rest but the body uses up energy to restore bone and muscles by increase blood flow and hormone production. In deep sleep, about 40% of blood flow to the brain is sent to the muscle instead to help restore energy. In addition, the hormone Prolactin releases during sleep and acts as an anti-inflammatory to recovery from achy joints.

Tip: After and injury or surgery, 8-10 hours of sleep per night is highly recommended for a speedy recovery.

Sleeping is a basic human need, and essential to good health and well-being throughout your lifetime. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation is a common public health problem in the United States. The report suggests that 7-19% of adults are not getting enough sleep and 40% admitted to dozing of during the day.

Are you getting enough sleep or have questions about the importance of sleep? Sign up for a free body composition analysis to see how your sleep could be affecting your weight. Our friendly staff will give you tips and tricks on how to improve your overall health!