The hidden reason you can’t lose weight
We all know that we need to be eating clean, training hard, and posting a gym selfie to validate our time spent in the mirror, I mean on the gym floor, but what if I told you that one of the most overlooked, yet critical factors to a healthy and lean body, happens when you slip under the sheets at night for your body’s biggest and most important craving. Yes, I’m talking about that sexy S word – sleep!
Countless times, I’ve seen clients who are training the house down, eating a strict and clean nutrition plan, but the results just haven’t progressed as they should. And unless there is an undiagnosed medical condition, the most common issue I see which hinders results, is quite simply, a lack of quality sleep.
Studies have shown that those who sleep less than six hours per night gain almost twice the amount of weight over a six year period as those who slept seven to eight hours per night.
Other findings have found that those who sleep on average only five hours a night had a 73% increased likelihood of obesity over those who slept seven to night hours per night! Yes, that’s right, 73% likelihood of obesity.
For those corporate warriors who are running on as little as four hours sleep a night, thinking that they’re bulletproof, think again. The damage, while not immediately visible, is certainly being done to your hormones and internals. Those who are on four hours or less sleep a night will have the following consequences, according to recent studies:
• 40% longer to regulate blood sugar than normal to process a high carb meal.
• Insulin secretion and response to insulin decrease 30%.
• Cortisol levels (stress hormone) is elevated.
• Leptin levels decrease by 18% ( leptin is the hormone that tells your brain you’ve had enough to eat).
• Increased Ghrelin levels by 28% ( Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your brain to go and eat ).
• Increased hunger by 24%.
• Increased carb cravings, especially sweets, salty, and starchy high-kilojoule snacks.
These results were regardless of the subject’s diet and exercise habits.
When you also throw in what lack of sleep does to the immune system, thyroid and your ability to handle complex problems, Russell Sanna, executive director of Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine sums it up not so nicely:
Without adequate sleep, “you get sick, fat, and stupid.” Sanna said.
So what steps do I need to do to get enough sleep? Well, once you fall into a consistent routine of a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night, your energy levels will increase and most importantly, you’ll be stronger both mentally and physically.
Start making your health and how you function and feel, a priority. You need to have a look at your day and see just what you are doing with your time. If you spend a few hours a night watching mind numbing tv and or social media, then that’s a good place to start.
Some easy tips that you can do almost immediately are:
• Don’t consume caffeine after lunchtime. Afternoon coffees are forbidden with my clients. This not only affects your nervous system but also downregulates your adrenals, which is a whole different story I will discuss in another article.
• Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Even outside lights from the street can upset your body’s production of the wonderful sleep hormones serotonin and melatonin. Have your bathroom as dark as possible if you find yourself going for a late night toilet excursion.
• With us being in full swing of summertime and daylight savings, it’s easy to come home just after dark, have a bite to eat and sit on the couch watching TV/cruising social media for a few hours. If it’s late, put the phone down, turn the TV off, and get to bed you sleep rebel!
• Your phone should be on mute and on the other side of the room, face down if you are using it for an alarm.
• Take the TV out of your bedroom. The bedroom should be used for only two things, sleeping, and doing those fun activities that lead to guys sleeping quickly after they finish said activities!
• Read a book while you’re in bed if you can’t sleep straight away.
• Lay off the party drugs. Let’s be honest, munching more pills than Pac-man on the weekend isn’t doing your brain, nor body any good, let alone your sleeping patterns.
Let’s face it, we all want to have a lean, banging body and feel great 24/7, especially at this time of year. By simply getting in some quality sleep during the week and training hard, you can live your life with focus, passion and get great results from your training.
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website