New research shows that watching your diet and working out are just two of the ways you can get or stay slim. You can now a third technique to the list -- a good night’s sleep. Did you know that if you sleep less than 7 hours per night you risk gaining more weight over time? A recent study showed that than those who get 7 hours or more sleep each night have a clear weight loss advantage. This means you can literally just snooze off the pounds. Yes, that’s right! You heard us! Your weight loss dreams have finally come true.
US Family Health Plan – a TRICARE Prime health option – believes in eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying fit. We also believe in a good night’s sleep. But now we’re happy to announce that you can hit the sack and actually get some of the same results as hitting the gym. Amazing! Here are 5 ways you can use a good night’s sleep to your weight-loss advantage.
- If you’re asleep, you’re less apt to snack. When you enjoy a good, unbroken night’s sleep, chances are the only hot fudge sundaes you’ll eat will be in your dreams. No midnight pie ala mode, soda and chips, or reheated spaghetti and meatballs. When your sleep is broken at night, the refrigerator becomes your new best friend, and here is where the extra pounds come into the picture. More time awake, usually means more time in the kitchen. Studies show sleep deprived people tend to eat as much as 550 calories between the hours of 11am and 4am.
- A good sleep is an effortless way to burn calories. Okay, now perhaps you’re saying “You’re going too far with this thing”. No, we’re serious. After a good night’s sleep, you have more energy to carry into the next day. Your body can burn more calories, even when you're not working out. This is because of a phenomena called “resting energy”. Resting energy is the amount of energy you expend when you’re just being still. New research proved that normal sleepers have 5% more resting energy and burned 20% more calories after eating a meal versus their sleep-deprived counterparts. No joke.
- More sleep equals less fat. A study conducted at The University of Chicago showed that if you fail to get a good night’s sleep, you have a harder time burning fat. The study compared two groups – one group slept 8.5 hours per night and the other slept only 5.5 hours per night. The results proved that if people from both groups consumed the exact same number of calories the next day, the better rested group was twice as likely to lose fat. Let your snoring do the work.
- Sleep helps you make better grocery shopping decisions. You ask, how so? Well the answer is simple. Have you ever tried to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? And you ended up buying all these extra groceries? Well, when you are exhausted, the same thing tends to happen because you’re not thinking as clearly. We now know that people who are sleep deprived bought nearly 1,300 calories worth of food than more than people who are well rested. Good sleep helps shed pounds and save dollars!
- Sleeping helps your brain stay on track. When you’re tired, you just feel different and your brain functions differently too. Researchers at Harvard Medical School performed brain scans on people who reported high daytime sleepiness. These individuals made worse decisions when it came to consuming high calorie foods (among other things). This is because loss of sleep lowers natural inhibitions which translated into a tendency to overeat. People who were well rested had the ability to exercise more self-control and made better eating decisions.
So it turns out that sleeping at least 7 or more hours per night can help you lose weight and stay healthier. We can all jump for joy on that one! US Family Health Plan calls this “the easy weight loss plan”. Give it a try.