I probably shouldn’t admit this, but sleeping is one of my favorite “activities”. That might seem pathetic or lazy, but few things in life give me as much pleasure as putting on my favorite set of flannel pj’s (yeah, I know, sexy!) and heading into bed for a solid night’s sleep.
Lose Weight While You Sleep? C’mon!
I am usually of the view that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However there seems to be enough credible science to back the “lose weight while you sleep” claim. Of course, it’s not that you’re actually losing weight as you sleep. While the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood, researchers believe that how much you sleep and possibility the quality of your sleep may influence hormonal activity tied to your appetite.
The key hormones appear to be leptin and ghrelin. Leptin and ghrelin work in opposition to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full. Researchers believe that when you don’t get enough sleep, it somehow reduces leptin levels, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you’ll feel more hungry. With these two hormones working in this way, the result can be overeating and weight gain.
The Bottom Line: Exercise and portion control are still very important for weight management, but don’t forget to get your zzz’s too! And the next time you feel guilty about hitting the sack early or oversleeping, don’t feel so bad. You may really be doing a great thing for your waistline!