One of the most crucial elements to weight loss and gain is sleep. My experience, articles, and studies, validate this assertion. When weight loss and overall well-being are your intention, prevention of sleep deprivation must reign supreme. Mental clarity, metabolism, health risks, and a plethora of plaguing reactions occur without enough slumber. Consequently, when high levels of the stress hormone Cortisol exist, interrupted sleep and inability to sleep, may contribute to weight gain results. If weight loss seems stunted, examining your stress and sleep levels may be an immediate solution to effectively rev the engine for optimal forward motion.

Sleep deprivation affects the brain’s frontal lobe, the focal point for decision-making and impulse control. Like being inebriated, lack of mental clarity slows reaction time, and failure to respond responsibly affects choices negatively. Several studies indicate that less sleep contributes to high fat and high-carbohydrate snack cravings and consumption, late night eating, and utilizing food to relieve lack of sleep’s discomfort. Without effective quality and amounts of sleep, attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving skills are impaired and decrease successful weight loss attempts.

Recognizing how quality and amount of sleep affect the metabolism from functioning properly is imperative for a successful weight loss journey. Author, Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and clinical director of the sleep division of Arrowhead Health in Glendale, AZ, states that receiving enough sleep affects nightly hormones. Ghrelin, the hormone that signals when to eat elevates with sleep deprivation, while leptin, the hormone that controls satiety decreases. Additionally, less than seven hours of nightly sleep affects glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, determining how well the body can metabolize energy from foods containing carbohydrates.

Hosts of other ailments conclusively correlate with sleep deprivation. Insomnia increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation may attribute to lower levels of libido, hence affecting sex lives as well. Less than six hours of sleep has been associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep also ages skin, causing puffy eyes, dreary skin, and fine lines. Without effective sleep, the stress hormone, Cortisol, may break down collagen that maintains skin’s smooth elasticity, while the growth hormone that thickens skin, thickens bones, and increases muscle mass, decreases.

Necessary sleep is crucial for optimal health. Affecting decision-making, metabolism, cravings, hormones, libido, depression, anxiety, skin, and overall well-being, the connection between sleep deprivation and weight loss efforts is immense. Seven to nine hours of slumber per night requires due diligence. Utilizing magnesium or a relaxation routine to encourage immediate and quality sleep is helpful. Reducing stress via meditation, healthy food, and a calmer lifestyle, to prevent Cortisol levels from rising, while reducing caffeinated beverages in the afternoon are also supportive measures. Optimal sleep is a definite prerequisite for weight loss management. Be sure you are getting your essential zzz’s.