I know what you are thinking. What is this sneaky little exercise that is going to melt away my excess fat… OR… let me know the tricky modification to my diet that is the fastest way to lose belly fat.
What if we told you this simple trick had absolutely nothing to do with exercise or nutrition? That’s right… one of the key reasons you struggle to shift your excess belly fat could actually be because you aren’t getting enough good old quality sleep.
I know, sounds absurd right? But more and more research is pointing the finger at the impact of sleep on your weight loss endeavors.
So how does sleep affect your body fat levels? Try this on for starters.
Increases your appetite
A lack of sleep has been demonstrated in recent research to increase your appetite, making you hungry even if you are indeed well fed. How does it do this? Well the theory goes that a lack of sleep affects the secretion of some of the key hormones responsible for appetite control.
Cortisol is a hormone responsible for (among other things) regulating your appetite and this hormone can be affected by a lack of sleep, causing you to overeat. Two other hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals when to eat and Leptin tells you when to stop. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation you actually have more ghrelin and less leptin – encouraging you to over eat.
Slows down your metabolism
Not getting enough Zzzz’s? It also affects your bodies metabolism. Researchers believe that a lack of sleep interferes with our ability to metabolize carbohydrates. What does this mean? It means higher levels of blood sugar, a higher insulin response… and results in an increase in fat storage. Not what we are after when searching for the fastest way to lose belly fat.
Consuming more calories
In addition to the point above about appetite – less sleep can add more calories for a couple of other reasons. One. You are awake for longer during the day – and have more time to eat! While it seems like a simple case of exercising self control throughout your day will be the obvious counter to this argument.
The other key point around this is that when you are tired and lethargic – you make poor nutritional decisions. An extra cup of coffee here as a ‘pick me up’, a donut or pack of chips there as a late night snack. Your normal good eating habits are railroaded and you end up with additional pounds on the mid section through poor food choices.
With that all said, make sure you take yourself off to bed nice and early tonight. Your body will thank you for it.