The amount of sleep people need is very individualized, but getting too little for your unique composition mucks up all of your fat loss efforts.
Studies show that people feel hungrier, make poorer food choices, and eat more (as much as 300 calories a day) whenever they are tired.
The reason has to do with how hormones respond to the stress of limited sleep. The stress hormone cortisol goes up, stimulating hunger for high-carb “comfort” foods. At the same time, glucose tolerance declines and the sensitivity of your cells to insulin decreases when sleep deprived, shifting the body into fat storage mode.
Men experience an acute drop in testosterone when they are sleep deprived, and both sexes suffer from lower growth hormone release—a key fat burning hormone.
We also move less when we are tired. The body responds to exhaustion by downregulating brain pathways that make us feel wakeful and energized, slowing metabolism and making us more inclined to lay out on the couch than to hit the gym and kill a sprint workout.
Troubleshoot lack of sleep with the following recommendations:
1. Establish a set bedtime, sticking to it on weekends.
2. Make sure you sleep in complete darkness, turning off electronics an hour before bed.
3. Develop a bedtime ritual (try a grateful log, reading a book, or meditation). 4. Consider using natural sleep aids like melatonin or a tropical magnesium cream.