Last week, we asked LighterLifers on our Facebook page how many hours of sleep they receive a night. We had a great response, and our findings are quite encouraging. Generally, experts recommended that we receive at least 7 hours of sleep a night in order for our bodies to undertake restorative ‘maintenance’.
The vast of majority of you revealed that you receive 6-7 hours of sleep a night and only a small minority slept for less than 5 hours. Four of you receive 8-9 hours of sleep a night and, unsurprisingly, none of those who took part in our poll received more than 10 hours a night.
Studies have shown that those who receive between six and eight hours of sleep a night had a greater chance of achieving their desired weight loss goal than those who slept for more or less. The research found that people who only receive between two and four hours of sleep a night are 73% more likely to be overweight compared to normal sleepers, compared to 23% for those who sleep for six hours on average.
Although there may be no definitive reason as to why sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, there is a suggestion that stress may play a key role. In theory, those who receive little sleep are more likely to develop higher stress levels. For those who develop higher stress levels, eating ‘junk’ food and indulging in your favourite snack becomes addictive and a way of ‘coping’.
From a biological point of view, sleep plays an important role in the development and release of certain hormones. Two of these hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, play an important role in suppressing and stimulating your appetite. The less sleep you receive, the lower your levels of Leptin and the higher the levels of Ghrelin. In short, this will heighten your appetite and cause you to eat more.
Although sleep is not the decisive factor in your weight-loss programme, ensuring you receive the suggested seven hours of sleep a night certainly won’t harm your dieting efforts. Any excuse to secure an extra few minutes in bed!
If you’ve been inspired to lose weight please visit the LighterLife website to find out more.
Similarly, if you would like to share your story with us be sure to visit our LighterLife Twitter and Facebook pages for upcoming polls, questions and inspiring updates!