6 studies that prove sleep is the key to weight loss, cutting out junk, staying motivated and stressing less.
NY resolutions are well underway – everyone’s committing to eating healthier, losing those Christmas kilos and staying on track for the year, rather than the week. For anyone with these goals, make it easier for yourself by getting quality sleep. Here’s why:
- With respect to weight loss, the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago discovered individuals lost 55% more body fat simply by sleeping 8.5 hours rather than 5.5. Tracking every morsel that entered their mouths and all physical activity, the single variable was sleep length. And before you think it was the difference between the people themselves in short vs long sleep groups - it wasn’t. The same individuals were tested in both conditions.
- Trying to moderate your portions this year? Scientists uncovered hunger hormone grehlin increases by a 28% for those lacking sleep, and further, they also experience a 18% decrease in satiety hormone leptin. Consequentially, this converts to a hungrier, less satisfied you.
- Cutting out junk? Researchers at UC Berkley found that when you are sleep deprived, the brain area controlling desire - say, for example, for those hot chips or that chocolate bar - has greater control over your decisions than it usually would. With heightened primal urges, we are also more likely to cave to our cravings due to a bunting of the cortical region dictating rationale and decision making. The researchers concluded: “high calorie foods become significantly more desirable when sleep deprived”.
- Staying motivated, at work and at home is challenging in itself - so don’t make it harder than it needs to be. This study pinpoints lack of sleep impairs the brains frontal lobe, responsible for attention, judgement and concentration. This helps explain the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation Australian Sleep Survey finding that 29% of workplace errors are a direct result of fatigue.
- Looking to stress less this year? Sufficient sleep, biologically, is your ticket: there is a 37% rise in stress hormone cortisol only after one night of inadequate sleep, meaning the next day you’re likely to feel anxious, wired, jittery and unable to switch off. Further, for anyone seeking to be more calm, cool and collected when confronted with unexpected problems, researchers also discovered that a lack of sleep exacerbates your reactivity to stress, aka you’re more likely to ‘blow up’ at someone for something minor if you haven’t had those quality zzz’s.
Evidently, sleep in itself is a goal, however, in order to reach your other goals - sleep can either empower or impair you.
So - my top 3 go-to’s for quality sleep?
- Join my Sleep Solution e-community so you receive ongoing sleep tips from me. Combining my degrees in psychology, physiology and nutrition, my evidence based strategy helps you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up more refreshed. We all know support is the #1 factor in long term change - sign up now.
- Wear these 100% blue light blocking glasses in the evening. Protecting you from blue light which is emitted from your ceiling lights and devices, without these glasses your brain is highly stimulated and does not secrete the hormone melatonin which otherwise makes you sleepy. Evidence shows room lights delays your production of this key sleep hormone by 90 minutes - meaning you’re not tired in the evening if your lights are on, and keep your brain active for 90 minutes after they are switched off. For anyone looking for maximum quality in minimal time, using these glasses helps you achieve exactly that. I specify this brand because I discovered that some blue light blocking glasses only guard against 40-50% of blue light, whereas these are 100%.
- Buddy up with your lover, friends, family and housemates and commit to improving sleep together. Research in Forbes pinpoints you’re 65% more likely to reach your goals if you have an accountability partner, and 95% more likely if you have a scheduled check in with this partner. So make sure you have at least 1 other person you know join my community alongside you and both grab a pair of the glasses too - you’re more likely to be successful in your sleep goals; which as you now realise, enhances your ability to smash your non-sleep goals too.
Written by Sleep Specialist Olivia Arezzolo