In previous posts, I listed the many factors that can sabotage your metabolism: sleep, stress, toxins in our environment, synthetic food substances, food intolerances, and imbalances in the bacteria in our digestive tract, as well as the timing, macronutrient composition (protein/carbs/fat), and quality of your foods.
Metabolism Booster #1 was Start the Day with Protein
Metabolism Booster #2 was Phase Out Frankenfoods
In today’s post, I am giving you permission to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Somehow in our culture it has become a badge of honor to boast about how much we can do every day with little sleep. With the commitments of work, family, community, friends, and children’s activities, it is easy to skimp on sleep when something has to give.
If you are trying to lose weight, it is essential that you get adequate rest every day. For most, this means at least 7-8 guilt-free hours of beauty sleep.
Lack of sleep contributes can sabotage weight loss efforts in several ways. First, lack of sleep results in a lower energy level throughout the day. When energy is low, cravings for quick-energy foods (sugar!) increase. This makes is much more difficult to make healthy food choices.
Second, lack of sleep has been show in studies to significantly change hormone levels that drive hunger and satiety. One study subjected volunteers to conditions where they were allowed only five hours of sleep compared to a normal eight hours. When volunteers slept only five hours, they had a 3.6% increase in body mass, a 15.5% decrease in leptin (the hormone that signals that the body is full) and a 14.9% increase in ghrelin (the hormone that triggers appetite.) So, lack of sleep not only increases food cravings, it increases appetite and requires you to eat more food before your brain recognizes that you are full.
Third, some researchers believe that stage 4 sleep that we experience 3-4 times each night may regulate metabolism. It is in this stage of sleep when the most growth hormone is released, the hormone that prompts the body to burn stored fat. If you cut your sleep short, you may be also shorting your body of growth hormone and the opportunity to burn fat while you sleep. One small study showed that insufficient sleep increases the risk for insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
If you want to boost your metabolism, begin adjusting your lifestyle to allow for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Not sure where to start? See the National Sleep Foundation for tips to help you improve your sleep quality and quantity.