By Sophie Hecht from the Space FoamTM team
“Go to spin class four times a week.”
“Cut out dairy, gluten, and sugar.”
“Run 5 miles every morning.”
“Drink only Kale smoothies. That’s the best way.”
We have all read about, and maybe even tried, almost every dieting option out there. They seem unrealistic and can only be successful if performed by someone with superhuman powers. And even, after years of trying, you found one that helped a little, it is nearly impossible to keep the weight off. We all wish dieting was not that hard.
But what if it wasn't? What if eating right and exercising enough weren’t the only factors that affect our weight? Is it possible that something as easy as crawling under the covers and hitting the snooze button are the solutions?
At Space FoamTM, we did some research on the factors of weight-loss and have found that sleep is very high on the list. This may sound surprising, but sleep actually does control the way our body acts and our brain functions. Getting less than six hours of sleep can not only leave your muscles and limbs feeling sluggish in the morning, but also cause your brain to depress and stimulate certain hormones that affect your hunger.
The two main hormones that leave your stomach feeling empty or full are called Leptin and Ghrelin. Leptin is produced in your fat cells and the less leptin you make, the more hungry you feel. On the other hand, Ghrelin reduces the amount of calories that you burn and increases your fat storage, stimulating your hunger. Studies have shown that when you receive less than six hours of sleep a night, your brain sends a message to your body to depress the Leptin and stimulate the Ghrelin, leaving yourself craving foods. If that’s not enough, sleep deprivation also increases the levels of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the stress hormone and is frequently associated with fat gain. It activates reward centers in your brain that make you want food. The combination of high Cortisol and Ghrelin shut down the areas of your brain that make you satisfied, so you feel hungry even if your body doesn’t necessarily need food.
Aside from hormones, lack of sleep pushes you in the direction of foods you know you shouldn’t eat. Being tired is like being a little bit drunk. Your body doesn’t allow you to make the smart decisions you should be making. You just aren’t one hundred percent you when you are tired.
Aside from food, sleep deprivation cuts into your gym time. Going to the gym helps build muscles, and muscles are the enemy of fat. They burn away fat, increase your metabolism, and leave you feeling younger and stronger. But sleep debt is the enemy of muscles. Scientists have found that lack of sleep slows down protein synthesis (muscle formation), causing muscle loss, and leading to a higher incidence of injuries.
The connection between sleep and weight gain is hard to ignore. And with all of the connections to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and and diabetes, the importance of sleep goes beyond looking good. At Space FoamTM, we care about sleep and want you to be the best and healthiest that you can be. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, try our Space FoamTM pillow. You will wake up feeling fresh and ready to start a productive day.