Sunday, August 26, 2012

You May Not Realize How Much Sleep Can Affect Your Weight

No matter what diet plan you are following or how much exercise you get during the day, if you are not getting enough sleep at night, you are not likely to reach your weight loss goal. This is a simple yet well researched fact that far too many people are completely unaware of. According to a research study conducted in 2005 by the National Sleep Foundation, at least 75% of the world's population suffers from not getting enough sleep on a nightly basis.

Does this mean that we are not spending enough time in bed? Chances are that the vast majority of those who do not get the required amount of sleep do not spend enough time each night in their beds, but for a relatively substantial number of this huge number of people the problem may lie in their mattress. As most of us can easily testify to, if our bed is not comfortable we simply cannot get a good night's sleep.

While the medical community may still not completely understand everything that sleep does for our bodies, what they do know is that when you start short changing yourself, it can cause severe headaches and lead to major problems such as becoming disoriented and hallucinating. Even given this, scientists are still at a loss to explain why human beings need to spend approximately 1/3rd of their lives sleeping.

How does all of this tie into weight and weight loss? What science can tell us is that while we sleep our bodies seem to go into a full diagnostic mode, during which our metabolism slows down. During this time, the body looks at where it needs to make use of all the various resources, including fat that it has stored during the day.

In a study conducted at Walter Reed Medical center that involved a test group of nurses, some of which got at least eight hours of sleep each night and some who did not, a major difference was noted in their overall weights and BMIs. The results of this particular study showed that those who actually slept eight hours or more, not only exercised less, but had lower BMIs and weighed less than those who exercised more and slept less.

What recommendations have come from the various studies to help ensure that you are going to get a full eight hours of sleep every night? The most obvious one is to make sure you have set aside the allotted amount of time each night. However, you may find that practicing a relaxation technique such as meditation can help you unwind from a stressful day and prepare both your mind and your body to prepare to enter the sleep cycle.

At the same time and often one of the most overlooked reasons why so many of us toss and turn each night, depriving ourselves of the precious sleep we need is the bed we are laying on. If your mattress is less than comfortable or you wake up in the morning stiff and sore, the time has come for you to buy a new mattress and start getting your full eight hours every night. You will be amazed at how much this can help you shed those unwanted pounds when combined with a good diet and the right exercise.

No comments: