I wrote about the importance of sleep for muscle building in a previous post. But getting consistent, quality sleep is also crucial for those who want to lose fat.
At least 36 separate studies have shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and obesity, especially in younger age groups.1 More research is needed to understand exactly how lack of sleep may contribute to weight gain, but it seems to cause several unfavorable changes in hormones/metabolism (decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, and decreased levels of leptin).2
One recent study showed that just one night of poor sleep can cause hormonal changes associated with overeating.3 This doesn’t surprise me–sometimes I can tell a big difference in my hunger level after just one night of not sleeping well.
These are just a few of the studies I ran across while writing this article. Feel free to do your own research and I think you’ll come to similar conclusions.
I’m afraid many people who want to lose fat overlook this very important component of health. Restricting your sleep will sabotage your efforts to build a better body, so don’t do it.
“Eat less, stress less; move more, lift more and get a good night’s sleep. For physical health, that’s pretty much as good as it gets.”
-Brad Pilon, Eat Stop Eat
1. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Mar;16(3):643-53. Epub 2008 Jan 17. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review.
2. Endocr Dev. 2010;17:11-21. Epub 2009 Nov 24. Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism.
3. British Journal of Nutrition. (April 2012) Effects of sleep fragmentation on appetite and related hormone concentrations over 24 h in healthy men