Sleep is one of the first things people sacrifice when they get busy. Especially me. But in this post I’m going to explain why sleep helps weight loss. If sticking to your healthy diet and losing weight or gaining muscle is important to you, then you need to pay attention to this article.
Sleep is so important to staying disciplined to a healthy diet that it is Domino Habit number ONE in The 4 Habits. The 4 Habits are:
- Make time for your sleep ritual.
- Make time for meal prep.
- Eat slowly in an undistracted environment.
- Make time to refresh your mind.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on and introduce you to what a sleep ritual is and why sleep helps with weight loss.
But if you want to stay on this article, here’s the quick and dirty plus my best advice for creating and improving a sleep ritual.
Quick & Dirty: Why Sleep Helps Weight Loss
1. Most of the body fat burning you so long for happens while you are asleep.
2. Most of the muscle and tissue repair for your body happens at night when you sleep.
All the working out, moving during the day, inflammation from life and food, immune response to your environment, etc….. Your body repairs all of that stuff at night while you sleep.
3. When you don’t sleep, you increase your cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a stress hormone made by your body that is NORMAL AND GOOD at appropriate times and in appropriate doses.
When you don’t sleep, your body creates more cortisol because
A) it’s stressed
B) it’s trying to keep you awake. Cortisol is the morning hormone that wake’s your body up out of sleep.
Regulating your cortisol levels is one of the biggest reasons why sleep helps weight loss. When our cortisol is high, our body craves excess sugar, out body stores more of that sugar, and more inflammation is created in the body. Here’s why cortisol creates cravings….
4. Your body uses 2 things for fuel: glucose or ketones. When you are exhausted, your body craves more glucose (sugar).
Our bodies are like hybrid cars; they like to switch between fuel sources based on what we need to do.
Glucose is sugar. Your body creates glucose out of carbohydrates and excess dietary protein. Insulin is required to use glucose (from carbohydrates) in the body.
Ketones are created out of body fat or dietary fat consumed in the diet if you are eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day.
Glucose is “I need this right now!” fast energy for the body. When we have too much glucose in our bloodstreams, it is stored as excess fat in the liver and then around the body.
Ketones are an energy source your brain loves. They don’t cause glucose cravings. Excess ketones are excreted in the urine and breath – they are NOT stored in the body. So, back to your body and sleep and glucose….
5. Cortisol makes you crave excess sugar and carbohydrates.
When you are exhausted after a poor night’s sleep, cortisol makes you CRAVE sugar and carbohydrates because it’s the IMMEDIATE sugar (glucose) your body wants to push an unrested, un-repaired, fatigued body forward through the day.
That’s why, after a night of poor sleep, you crave sugar, junk food, and caffeine so badly the next day. Because your body is asking for stimulants to keep you going.
Cortisol is one of the commanding your body to consume stimulants (glucose and caffeine) to keep you awake.
Now do you see why sleep helps weight loss????
I could explain even more ways poor sleep affects your body but I think that’s enough for now. If you want more, watch this video I did on the topic.
So how do you start sleeping better? Well, you can’t actually control the quality of your sleep. That’s up to your body responding to life and how you treated it that day.
But you CAN ensure that your environment sets you up for sleep success by making time to perform this Domino Habit……
Domino Habit #1: Make time for a daily sleep ritual.
Here are the steps to creating an effective sleep ritual:
- In your calendar, schedule 2 hours before lights out time to perform your sleep ritual every day. (I’m serious. Schedule and commit to it like a doctor’s appointment.)
- At the start of your sleep ritual time, turn off ALL screens in your life. That means no TV, no cell phones, no backlit book screens or iPads. The light messes with your sleep hormones which make up your circadian rhythm.
- Sometime in the first hour of your ritual, brush your teeth and get ready for bed. Maybe make some hot magnesium water or a cup of my favorite Fade to Black sleepy tea and get to bed for some quality chill time.
- Get in bed and do something to disconnect from the day and rest your mind. Maybe read a physical book, listen to an audible book, meditation, or music. (No TV or computers or cell phone screens in the last two hours before bed, homie. I’m serious.)
Then, let me know how it goes!
Now you know why sleep helps weight loss. Sleep plays a HUGE part in your ability to stay disciplined to your healthy eating and goals. It also plays a huge part in the level of inflammation in your body.
That’s why I start all my clients on Domino Habit #1: Make time for your sleep ritual. It makes a HUGE difference in the quality of our day, our ability to stick to our healthy eating style, and our body’s ability to perform well and feel good.