Some factors most people think about when discussing weight loss after surgery are healthy diets, regular exercise and drinking enough water. However, a very commonly forgotten, but important influence on weight, is sleep. So how much sleep is enough, and why do we need it?
Sleeping is the body’s opportunity to rest, restore and regulate metabolism. If we are deprived of sleep, hunger hormones can change. The chemicals that signal for feeling full don’t work as effectively, and the chemicals to stimulate eating tend to increase. Most studies recommend we get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This can vary from person to person, but getting 6 hours or less can lead to problems with weight gain and metabolism.
There is also evidence to say that even if you are doing everything else right (such as eating healthy meals and regularly exercising), poor sleep can cause your body to lose lean muscle rather than fat. This is because your sleep cycle and hormones are out of balance. The brain craves energy-dense foods higher in carbohydrates to get through the day, when a solid 7-9 hours could have done the trick the night before.
On top of all of the chemistry going inside your body, it is easy to skip exercising when we’re too tired, or opting for a bigger, calorie-dense meal because we feel low in energy. Feeling tired can also lead to feeling stressed, which can increase the hormone cortisol in the body that also makes the body hold onto more fat.
Overall, sleeping is crucial for healthy and consistent weight loss. It helps with decision-making, increasing concentration and energy levels, reducing stress and regulating body temperature and hunger hormones. This is why, when considering weight loss, it is important to also investigate your sleeping patterns. If you are worried about your sleep patterns, don’t panic! We are here to help. Discussing your sleeping patterns with your doctor or dietitian can be a factor in enhancing your weight loss journey, and we will be here every step of the way.