Did you know that sleep—or a lack of it—can impact your weight as well as your overall health? Studies show that nearly one-third of American adults get less than six hours of sleep a night. This is significant—and a real problem with potentially serious consequences.
A team of researchers from the University of Chicago found that when people sleep only five and half hours a night, they didn’t eat more at meal times, but they did consume more carbohydrates and more calories from snacks. They also found that when we get less sleep, it significantly reduces the amount of fat we lose while dieting. Dieters who reduced their sleep duration from eight hours to five and half hours per night decreased their fat loss by 55%! Talk about a good reason to get your ZZZs!
In The New Lean for Life, Dr. Allouche and I write about how important “gut health” is for weight loss. Sleep is essential for gut health. That’s because your gut regenerates its lining while you sleep. Not getting enough good quality rest can impair that process and can contribute to poor gut health.
During the day, your gut is engaged in near constant activity. It is enrobed by two rows of neurons. One row is responsible for motility—stretching and squeezing your intestines to push food through your digestive tract. The other row senses where your food is in the process. Whenever the neurons touch, they react automatically to get out of the way. When you sleep, your busy neurons calm down, which promotes gut health.
There are plenty of great reasons to get proper rest, so pay attention over the next week to how much sleep you’re actually getting. Think about how you can make whatever adjustments are necessary to not only get more sleep, but to get better quality sleep. Your gut—and the rest of your body—will thank you!