Whenever someone plans on losing weight, one of the first things they do is research. And the one consistent message you will see across all the articles is one simple fact – A good night sleep is pivotal for losing weight. This is something that’s corroborated with not only “experts” on the internet but licensed nutritionists and doctors as well.
Now that we know sleep is important, the next logical question would be, well how much?
Well according to the 2006 American Thoracic Society International Conference, women that slept only five hours per night were thirty-two percent more likely to experience major weight gain & fifteen percent more likely to develop obesity as compared to the women who slept seven hours a night.
Okay, we know the “What” and When” next let’s answer the “How”.
We’ve all been there, you know that it’s time to sleep but you can’t help but flip through your phone or start watching your favorite show on Netflix just before bed. Justification we give ourselves, “just one episode” or “I’ll reply to this one message” and before you know it, it’s 4 in the morning and you have to start getting ready for work in 2 hours.
First things firsts, one of the best things you can do is turn off all electronics before 10 pm, easier said than done, I know but researchers at the University of Glasgow conducted a study with around 91,000 participants, between the ages of 37 and 73 to analyze how their habits impacted their circadian rhythms.
The results of their study concluded that it’s crucial to cut off all electronics at 10 pm as twenty-five percent of participants were found to stay active at night because of their phones. This led to the compromise of their body clock and even increased the chances of depression and bipolar disorder.
The next thing you should consider is the environment in which you sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, light exposure at night can impact your metabolism. Basically, if you want to lose weight, try to make your bedroom as dark as possible.
So what the researchers did was place twenty healthy adults, whose ages ranged from 18 to 40, into two separate groups then had them spend two nights at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Both groups were given the chance to get the suggested eight hours of sleep, the only difference being, one room was entirely dark, whilst the other had a light exposure of 100 lux, for reference’s sake, that’s is similar to an office staircase.
While one group would sleep in a dark room for the first night then in the second room with a little overhead light on the following night, the other group would spend both nights in the room that was totally dark.
The researchers would go on to draw blood samples from the participants every hour during the night. The objective was to check melatonin and, the blood oxygen levels, measured brain waves, and breathing and heart rate. They would also conduct oral glucose tolerance tests on the participants the following morning.
The concluding results were that the participants who slept in complete darkness not only had the better sleep but they correspondingly had much lower levels of insulin.
Truly an important find since insulin is the hormonal indication to the body to increase weight. Meaning the higher one’s insulin levels are, the more weight they gain, regardless of their diet or exercise.
So here is everything you need to know, first, you need at least eight hours of sleep at night, anything less and you start gaining weight. Second, the best thing you can do to not compromise your body clock is to turn off all electronics by 10 pm as studies have shown it’s one of the leading factors of why people are active at night. And finally, make sure that your sleeping quarters are as dark as humanly possible because clinical studies have shown exposure to light has an impact on your metabolism.