For some people losing weight is a constant battle. There are many different ways of losing weight and every individual has different needs. Regardless of the changes you are making in your life, everyone will benefit from good, healthy sleep. In fact, evidence shows that sleeping well is as important as exercising or a balanced diet.
Here is what the evidence says:
- Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that check and balance your appetite. These hormones are secreted at night and an imbalance in these two hormones will increase your appetite.
- Cortisol levels are increased when not sleeping well and puts us in a fight-or-flight mode where the body is told to store as much fat as possible because of the perceived notion of danger.
- Carbohydrates metabolize slower with lack of sleep, insulin is increased, and the body is signaled to store more fat.
- Muscle micro-tears that happen during workout heal at night while sleeping, which leads to muscle growth.
- In Chinese medicine, falling asleep between 9 pm and 11 pm is ideal because the triple-burner energy is working hard to absorb, metabolize, transform food into nutrients, and get rid of waste. Those hours are times when your body is most tired so sleeping is the best way to get out of the way and let your body recover.
- Gall bladder and liver work the most between 11 pm and 3 am. Among the problems that result from gallbladder and liver imbalances are digestive disorders, connective tissue and bone problems, mood and reproductive issues; all of which can influence weight control from the Chinese medicine perspective.
- Lung time is 3 to 5 am, which regulates your life energy, oxygen, and water metabolism. Water metabolism is crucial for the proper function of the large intestine, which promptly follows from 5 to 7 am.
- If you’ve ever talked or lived with a sleep-deprived person you know that they are most likely to be the more irritable, anxious, snappy version of themselves. Emotional eating comes suddenly, even when already full, and the choices are usually poor.
- People predisposed genetically to gaining weight can lose weight not by eating less but by sleeping more, a study says.
- Another study shows that sleep-deprived individuals can eat up to 500 more calories than people who get enough sleep.
Damiana Corca is an Acupuncturist and Clinical Herbalist specializing in Sleep Disorders, and a friend of the Yinova Center. She is passionate about helping people sleep soundly to live their most healthy and fulfilled lives. To read more articles and learn more about her practice in Boulder, Colorado, visit her website here.