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Sleep For Weight Loss: How Catching ZZZ’s Helps Trim Your Waistline

Posted October 11, 2013 by Melissa diLeonardo in Life After Five


Sleep exercise

I will make this short and sweet.  You’ve heard before how most Americans do not get adequate sleep. We work hard, we play hard, and we juggle our personal and professional life.  The end of the day arrives and the TO DO LIST still appears endless.  It is at this moment that I urge you to put the list away and go to bed.

Many people tell me they do not have “time” to exercise or plan healthy meals. I am here to remind you that adequate sleep is as beneficial as regular exercise and proper nutrition when it comes to maintaining your weight. It provides a first step toward better health habits and when combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, sleeping could actually help you lose weight.

Inadequate sleep makes you tired. When tired, you are more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and/or sugary drinks.  These pick-me-ups may give you a temporary energy boost, but they leave you wanting more when the boost leaves you. More snacks, more calories, more calories, more weight.

Despite the fact that many of us can technically function on 5 hours of sleep, the body actually requires about 7.5 hours to fully rest and recover.  Many people think they are an exception, but this is science folks.  The results are in: approximately 7.5 hours of sleep.  (Google it.)  Sleep deprivation causes bodily stress and that stress causes inflammation.  Inflammation can impede proper digestion, increase food cravings, and foster weight gain. You may have learned to get by on 5 hours, but upping your rest time will inevitably aid in better mental awareness and allow your body to function more efficiently.  You will also be less likely to reach for unhealthy pick-me-up snacks.

Do you already make time for the gym and rock healthy snacks?  If so, proper sleep will aid in your body’s recovery and help you up your game at the gym.  Upping your game at the gym will lead to better fitness and better fitness, when combined with your healthy diet, will assist with your weight loss goals.

So examine your current sleep patterns, lay off caffeinated drinks late in the day, avoid large meals right before bed, and give proper sleep a try.  See if you don’t notice a difference in how you feel and how your clothes fit.


About the Author

Melissa diLeonardo

Melissa is an East Coast native who has made Chicago her home! She has worked in the health and wellness field for over six years and lives to bike, hike, run, lift, and play. As a ReebokONE Brand Ambassador, Certified Personal Trainer via the American Council on Exercise, and a Registered Yoga Teacher, Melissa is down with good health. Voted “Best Personal Trainer” in the 2013 Chicago Reader’s Annual Poll and selected as a global finalist in the 2013 Life Fitness Personal Trainer to Watch Contest, Melissa instructs fitness and yoga classes throughout the north side of Chicago (spinning, boot camp, strength training). She a proud member and assistant coach at CrossFit Chicago and Master Trainer for Life Fitness Academy . Co-founder of the Chicago-based wellness collective, true-2-life.com and Program Manager for Corporate Movement at Life Fitness Corporation, you can follow her on twitter @mdsapphire. Now let's dance!