Laval University in Quebec – studies reveal that sleep is important for weight loss. One study had two sets of participants. The groups dieted in exactly the same way with the only difference being the amount of rest they got. One group was limited to five and a half hours of sleep and the other got a full eight (and a half) hours. Obviously, the group that slept longer lost more pounds or we wouldn’t be writing this article. But it is almost terrifying to report that in addition to weight gain those with limited rest also lost muscle density. This is an interesting lesson to learn about health in general and the importance of sleep. A second study was made that included 123 people and, again, those that slept the most also lost the most weight.

Tired people overeat because they succumb to temptation more easily

Desire for food is enhanced by a lack of sleep. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But one study showed that a group whose sleep was reduced by one-third of what was normal for them, ate on average 500 more calories in a day than a group whose patients slept their typical full night. A lack of sleep can cause emotional instability and result in increased impulse eating. In fancy terms, it’s called “hedonic stimulus processing” and is probably the cause of a lot of midnight raids on the refrigerator. If you think about it, just because you are awake longer, the likelihood that you will eat increases.

It’s been proven that watching television late into the night increases the probability you will eat too – and badly. TV viewing causes people to be more inclined to eat without thinking and without actually being hungry. Studies show that the quality of the food consumed in front of the tube suffers too. Typically it is high calorie, high fat, and low nutrition food that is advertised. People who stay up late eat 400 – 500 more calories than the “early to bed – early to rise” group.

Not sleeping can change your genetics to be overweight

Studies have also shown that genetic changes occur because of a lack of rest that simply causes the body to produce fat – no increase of calories required. If you have the genetics to be overweight, a lack of sleep enhances and energizes those genetics. Getting a good night’s rest can limit the effect of your fat genes. You can’t sleep yourself thin. But you can limit the effect of your genetics to be overweight so that positive activities  such as diet and exercise play a more predominate role in your body weight. Your ability to exercise is severely curtailed if your body does not get adequate rest. Simply put – limited rest results in limited exercise. Limited rest causes limited motion in general. Tired people are typically without energy and not in motion.

Not sleeping can change the levels of the hormones that cause you to eat. Lack of rest causes stress that raises cortisol levels which increases food consumption. Further, not sleeping causes ghrelin levels to rise. Ghrelin is a strong appetite stimulant.

In conclusion, it’s abundantly clear – the new formula for weight loss may now be diet, exercise AND sleep.