Why Sleep is so Important for Weight Loss

16 Aug, 2017

So many clients who have come to see me for their first time sit across from me eagerly awaiting some revolutionary new-age advice that will help them to instantly get their life on track. And, while most of the advice that I give is in fact revolutionary and new-age, they are often left disappointed when I tell them to simply go home and sleep. From a young age our parents repeatedly told us that we had to sleep in order to grow big and strong. But was this just a ploy to get us out of their hair as early as possible every night or were they really onto something? Let’s find out…

 

Growth Hormone Release

Many people assume that their muscle mass increases instantaneously while training at the gym. However, this is not the case. In fact, muscle is actually broken down during exercise and repairs itself afterwards, during sleep. This is all thanks to the release of a hormone known as Growth Hormone. This hormone helps with tissue repair throughout our bodies and is responsible for turning our fat stores into muscle following a workout. It also is facilitates a number of other processes that are important for weight loss such as regulating blood-sugar levels and liver regeneration.

 

Energy

This may sound totally obvious but I’m going to say it anyway… Having a proper night’s sleep will give you great energy the next day! While we can all cope with getting through a day having had little or no sleep the night before, trying to do this on a regular basis can be detrimental for your health and your weight. You see, being generally exhausted will not only reduce your likelihood of attending your scheduled exercise classes but it will probably also limit the amount of incidental physical movement you engage in throughout the day. Furthermore, it has been shown that people who are tired are more likely to crave energy-dense foods and binge. No matter how good your diet and exercise regime is, if you are running low on energy, there is no way those efforts will be sustained.

 

Hormone Balance

Sometimes, as good as our intentions may be, there are chemicals inside our bodies that may have other ideas. These are known as hormones. When they are in the right balance, they are our best friends but when they are out of balance they can cause serious havoc on our health. One of the best ways of rebalancing our hormones is through sleep! Two hormones that are greatly affected by our quality of sleep are cortisol and serotonin. Cortisol is a stress hormone and, when imbalanced, can cause many issues such as extreme exhaustion, weight gain, lowered immunity, blood-sugar imbalance and high blood pressure. Sleeping reduces cortisol levels after a stressful day, placing it back into balance for when you wake up. By contrast, serotonin, our ‘happiness hormone’ is increased when we sleep. Serotonin enhances our mood and energy levels while also balancing appetite, regulating sleeping patterns and improving overall cognitive function.  

 

Amanda Dinte

Nutritionist

Available for consult at Health Space Bondi Junction on Mondays and Thursdays

Call: 9389 0890