Good sleep versus good workout: What is more important for weight loss?


With more than half the Indian population struggling with excess weight, weight loss is on the mind of most people. For the very same reason, people go to far extremes and try every new diet and enroll in the most expensive gyms, whatever aids their weight loss journey.

Your gym trainer says that your workout is the most important part of your weight loss, while your nutritionist might tell you otherwise. But what exactly is more important for weight loss?

Neither workout or diet, there is another thing which matters the most when it comes to losing weight.

The National Sleep Foundation says that adults aged between 18 to 64 should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This good night sleep plays a major role in losing weight and also in maintaining it. It is because people those who sleep less than five to six hours every day are 45 per cent more likely to be obese.

In many countries, the number of people who are sleep deprived is almost equal to the number of people who are obese. Not denying the fact that exercising regularly is a vital habit to hit your ideal weight, but sleep has the unique ability to make you lose weight and keep you away from the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

What does poor sleep do?
Poor sleep drains you of energy, affects energy balance and function in every tissue of your body, as per experts. A good workout or a healthy diet is dependent on your sleep because poor sleep can make you overeat or not eat at all and won’t give you the required energy to workout.

This happens because sleep deprivation affects the hunger-regulating hormones making binging a biological inevitability and not a matter of willpower.

According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, men and women who cut 80 minutes from their regular sleep cycle, ate 549 extra calories the next day. Another study from the University of California – Berkley used brain scans of people to find that sleep deprivation impairs activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, which is in charge of complex decision making and increases the activity in the brain’s reward centre, the one that lights up in response to salt, sugar and fat.

When you are sleep deprived, your brain wants more high-energy foods for fueling itself. Thus, it’s no surprise that when you are awake at 2 or 3 in the night, you do not think about salads.

And if somehow one managed to stick to their weight loss routine even after being sleep deprived, it will make their weight loss progress suffer.

In one study led by the University of Chicago, when dieters slept for 8.5 hours every day for two weeks, their weight loss results increased. However, when they got 5.5 hours of sleep, their rate of fat loss dropped by 55 per cent, while following the same diet.

Not just this, a research published in the Journal Diabetologia shows that four days of sleep deprivation reduces the body’s insulin sensitivity, increasing your risk for fat storage.

A good quality sleep helps you stick to your diet as well as workout routine. The consequences of poor sleep are worse than just feeling tired, so be wise and sleep tight.

[Read More…]