If you were to take a poll of college students, I guarantee that a high percentage of them would say that their two favorite things to do are sleeping and eating (Okay, some might say drinking but just go with it). And this is exactly the problem: at college there is just not enough time to sleep and there is too much food to eat. But what if we lived in a world where sleeping could make you skinnier? Guess what… we do.
1. While you’re asleep, you’re burning calories.
During the night, your body is monitoring and maintaining your internal temperature, repairing cells and pumping blood – all activities that require energy and therefore burn calories. So, the more hours you sleep, the more calories you burn without even stepping foot on an elliptical.
2. Sleep boosts fat loss.
The University of Chicago conducted a study in which they compared the weight-loss results from sleeping 8.5 hours per night versus 5.5 hours per night. The people in the two different groups consumed the same number of calories per day and all participants lost about 6.5 pounds. However, in the group of people that slept longer each night, more than half of the weight lost was composed of fat, while only a quarter of the weight lost was composed of fat for those who slept less.
3. Sleep prevents you from doing the unhealthy things you do when you’re tired.
Think late-night snacking, drinking excess coffee, ordering takeout for dinner, skipping your daily workout routine and anything else that results from the days when those four hours of sleep just aren’t cutting it.
4. Sleep keeps your hormones on track.
If you didn’t know this already, you can blame hormones for just about everything. They control every aspect of weight loss – your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite, your cravings, etc.
Dr. Oz said that sleep deprivation makes people wake up with higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which fuels appetite and increases cravings, particularly for sugary and carb-laden treats, even when you have eaten enough.
Furthermore, sleeping the right amount every night (recommended 7.5 to 9 hours by Dr. Oz) actually helps you to lose weight by influencing the hormones that control your appetite and increasing your metabolism.
5. Sleep encourages portion control.
Some Swedes did a study in which they gave people a task: create an “ideal portion size” on a computer. Interestingly enough, there was a difference between those who were well-rested compared to those who were sleep-deprived. The ones who couldn’t stop yawning added 35 additional calories in snacks to their digital plate.
So what are you still doing reading this article? Go climb into bed and get your snooze on – it’s the best diet you’re going to read about in a long, long time.