It’s so hard getting up in the morning and going to the gym when your bed is just. so. comfy. Work out or sleep more? You know you could lay under your warm covers for hours on end, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel guilty for not hitting that gym time that you promised yourself you’d reach. It’s one of the biggest struggles of someone’s everyday life. But what if it turns out that you shouldn’t feel guilty for staying in bed a little extra longer instead of the gym? According to the experts, getting enough sleep can be just as beneficial for your health and your weight as going to the gym can be. Not getting enough sleep each night actually results in having a higher body fat percentage. Dr. Guy Meadows says, “Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to higher percent body fat. Research suggests that people who average 6 hours per night are 27% more likely to be overweight.” He stresses, “Those who average 5 hours per night are 73% more likely to be overweight.” Sleep is the base on which a healthy mind and body stand. From your immune function to your mood, energy, appetite and dozens of other health variables, if that base is wobbly, your health will suffer.
All of those statistics have to do with hormones – two in particular. “Ghrelin regulates our appetite and so how hungry we feel, whereas Leptin regulates the feeling of fullness, the cue to stop eating,” explains Dr. Meadows. “Research demonstrates that after a poor night of sleep Ghrelin levels increase and Leptin levels decrease, meaning we feeling more hungry and yet less full, hence why we tend to eat more.” Poor sleep causes people to choose high calorific food as a means to boost their energy.
Nutritionist Lily Souter points out that if you don’t get enough sleep, your workouts will be significantly less effective anyway – so perhaps you can feel guilty NOT laying in bed that extra hour. “During sleep, muscle tissue repairs and new cells are regenerated, therefore sleep deprivation is the enemy of a building that all-important fat burning muscle mass,” the nutritionist says. Whether it’s laying in bed longer or going to the gym, you can be losing weight. What a win-win!