Is it possible that something as simple as getting more sleep will help you to lose weight? The answer is yes. Our brains require a certain amount of sleep to function properly and regulate our hormones. When we deprive our brains of the necessary 7-9 hours of sleep sleep it can negatively impact our decision-making, increase our need for dopamine, and affect our metabolic hormones.
The Brain’s Frontal Lobe
Lack of sleep causes impaired performance of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is one of the four lobes of your brain that is located in the forefront of your brain. One of the functions of the frontal lobe is its ability discern between good and bad. In addition, it also contains most of your dopamine sensitive neurons and therefore is associated with reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine not only allows us to see the rewards, but actually encourages us to take action to obtain the rewards.
Sleep Deprivation and Your Brain
When your body is deprived of sleep, your frontal lobe begins to look for ways to feel good, and boy does that roll of cookie dough in the fridge start sounding like a great way to get those dopamine receptors humming. In other words, when you are well rested your brain is able to sufficiently fight the urge to grab that late night snack, but when you are exhausted your brain doesn’t have the clarity to make the better decision. You end up falling prey to the sleep deprived brain and all of a sudden the bag of Doritos is empty.
Increased BMI and Lack of Sleep
Research has shown that lack of sleep may even affect metabolic hormones. This can cause you to crave more fatty foods and foods with higher carbohydrates. When the body consumes a high fat/high carbohydrate food it potentially increases your BMI over time. An increased BMI means an increase in weight that can ultimately lead to obesity.
Lack of Sleep and Exercise
Finally, a simple correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain is that you are just too tired to exercise. When you don’t get enough sleep your body doesn’t have the energy to keep moving, leaving the extra calories on your hips instead of on the treadmill.
So, whether you’re late night snacking, grabbing that hamburger on the go, or just too plum tuckered out to take a walk around the block, maybe all you need is an extra hour or two of shut eye a night to get rid of those extra pounds. Talk about an easy diet……all you have to do is sleep to lose the weight!