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We all know that diet and exercise are crucial components to losing weight. However, many may not know that lack of sleep can actually significantly hinder the process of weight loss. Such a factor may be the reason why two individuals with the same diet and exercise plan can experience entirely different results within the same amount of time. Researchers recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

There are many reasons why poor sleep can dismantle all that hard work you have been putting into losing weight. Firstly, putting your body through sleep deprivation can actually change hormonal processes related to your fat cells; the calories you consume may be more likely to be stored as fat. When the body undergoes a constant period of sleep deprivation, it eventually loses its ability to properly utilize insulin, the hormone which helps facilitate fat cells to remove fatty acids and lipids from the bloodstream. Insulin resistance leads to lipid circulation in the bloodstream and the creation of more insulin. Higher insulin levels can cause the body to more likely store calories and energy as fat.

Secondly, sleep deprivation can lead to unhealthier and more fattening food choices. It may be harder to resist that scrumptious piece of cake or savory bag of chips after a poor night’s sleep. Not sleeping enough can lessen the frontal lobe activity in the brain, which is the decision-making and impulse control area. Studies show that individuals lacking sleep were more prone to choosing high-carb and high-fat foods in comparison to individuals who had adequate sleep. Furthermore, too little sleep can lead to worsened moods and lethargy. Due to food’s ability to provide us with quick energy and a heightened emotional state, we may abuse the use of it when sleep deprived.

Thirdly, the two hunger and fullness hormones, ghrelin and leptin, can also be affected by lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep causes more production of the hormone, ghrelin, which tells your brain when you need to eat. Additionally, leptin, which is the hormone that tells your brain when to stop eating, decreases. The combination of these two forces working together can lead to excessive eating and weight gain.

There is also the factor of your workouts and exercise results being affected. It is very difficult to exert your maximum potential into your daily cardio or weight-lifting regimen when you are feeling groggy and wanting to crawl back into bed. Not only that, sleep can actually negatively affect your muscle production and repair. Muscle actually helps burn fat and boosts the resting metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to less protein synthesis which makes the muscle in your body. This eventually results in more muscle loss. However, if you sleep enough, you are more likely to lose weight from fat instead. Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals actually experience a startling 55% less fat loss than those with who slept enough. Thus, if you are looking to build muscle to strengthen and improve your physique, as well as lose weight, going to bed earlier may greatly benefit you.

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