Sleep=Fat Loss?

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Sleep impacts fat loss efforts quite substantially. The average American only receives about 6-7 hours of sleep per night, with many of us getting much less than that.

If you don’t have enough sleep for your body, you are more likely to not only be low on energy (which means fewer workouts or less intense workouts= less calories burned), but you are also likely to eat more (especially simple/sugary carbohydrates, which end up creating a rollercoaster of short bursts of energy followed soon after by a crash).  This in itself tells us that sleep is very important.

However, a small study has been released in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Nedeltcheva AV, et al.  Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity.  Ann Intern Med. 2010; 153:435-441.) that shows a lack of sleep may affect whether you lose muscle or fat when the scale goes down.  This study found that while both groups lost 6 pounds on average, in the group that got more sleep (8 hours) the subjects lost 3 pounds of fat, while in the group with less sleep (5.5 hours), subjects only lost 1.5 pounds of fat (the rest of all weight loss was lean body mass, including- but not limited to- water, muscle, and intestinal contents).

If you’d like to know more about this study, my partners at Prograde Nutrition released a wonderful article outlining which hormones may be causing this fat-vs.-muscle loss.  You can read it here.

The best amount of sleep is the length of time it takes for you to feel fully rested, able to wake up on your own, and allows you to pursue your days with energy.  For many of us, that’s approximately 8 hours per night, with at least 1-2 hours of sleep accomplished before midnight.  So make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep each night in order to get the best results!