I recently read an article about the importance of sleep. It was actually an article about weight loss, and it described weight loss as a feat accomplished by balancing three parts. Much like a stool that you would sit on, without one leg you will tumble over.
It described the two obvious ‘legs’ first. Those are of course eating healthy combined with regular exercise most days of the week. Everyone knows this! What I found interesting was the importance that sleep has for anyone trying to lose weight.
A girlfriend of mine who is a mom swore that once her son finally started sleeping through the night she noticed she lost more weight. Nothing else had changed. Her exercise, nutrition, and even her son’s nursing habits maintained the same. But once she got more sleep she noticed her clothes started to fit loosely, even the ones she wore before pregnancy.
It really dawned on me after seeing this article that it wasn’t just her getting back to her normal size. Maybe sleep really had something to do with it.
The article I read discussed a study from the University of Chicago that compared weight loss results from sleeping eight and a half hours per night versus only five and a half hours per night.
The article talked about a couple of things that seem a little more obvious. For one it stopped late night snacking because people went to bed earlier. They also mentioned that people who are well rested are better at choosing reasonable portion sizes and making smarter choices about what foods they eat. In other words you put healthier stuff in your grocery cart. What was really interesting was that they found it helps you burn more calories than people who are sleep-deprived and boosted fat loss!
That is amazing to me!
So the next time you think about staying up late on autopilot just watching The Boob Tube, consider going to bed early and losing some weight instead.