Do you wish you can sleep the fats away?
Sleep. It’s got to be up there with chocolate and wine as one of life’s most precious gifts. However, unlike candy and bottles of pinot, getting more sleep can actually slim your waistline rather than ballooning it!
Believe me, I thought this was total nonsense too when I first heard about it. For me, weight loss was all about uncomfy sports bras, painful yoga poses and trying not to knock myself out doing jumping jacks whilst watching TV.
That was until I got my paws on a scientific journal entitled ‘Sleep’ (How creative!). The study from the journal took two groups and had them cut the same amount of calories from their diet, one group were allowed to sleep normally, while the other group had their sleep restricted five days a week (Story of my life!).
On average, the two groups lost around the same amount of weight, but the group that slept more lost a higher amount of body fat!
Before this, I thought the only weight-loss benefit sleep had, was that it was the only time of day that I physically couldn’t shove cookies into my mouth
The experiment also discovered that the group who slept just one hour more burnt more fat while they rested, rather than burning carbs.
Speaking of carbs! Whilst on the hunt for new recipes, I noticed that the BBC’s FOOD magazine released an article examining popular sleep studies, finding links between sleeping less and obesity! It almost seems like someone is trying to tell me something…
Now, this might all get a little science-y, but trust me, this new sleep research is total gold-dust for mummies with tummies and might make you feel better about what you may have thought were just bad habits.
The problem with not getting enough sleep lies with your hungry hormone, called leptin. Every time the baby wakes you up in the middle of the night or your partner decides to do their best snoring warthog impression - BOOM, the quality of your sleep goes down. When you sleep less, your body produces MORE of the hungry hormone and LESS of your happy hormone, serotonin.
Hungry, tired and sad. This is the change in body chemistry that turns sleepy panda-mom into a sweatpants wearing grizzly bear on the hunt for sugar, carbs and high-calorie food!
“I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR MORE SLEEP!” I hear you scream. Me neither! But these studies seem to show that just one more hour of sleep can increase the amount of fat burned overnight AND make you feel more motivated to eat healthily (and do jumping jacks) the next day.
Ladies...our bodies are awesome. They can do some pretty miraculous things, like giving birth or cleaning record-breaking amounts of baby's puke out of the carpet. If an hour of extra sleep is what it can take to make us healthier and happier, maybe we owe it to ourselves to be a little more selfish with our shut-eye.
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