A new study seems to suggest that cutting a lot of calories won’t do you any good if you don’t get enough sleep, because you won’t be losing the right kind. This new study, which was published recently online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, indicates that reducing your sleep from 8.5 hours to 5.5 hours can make you less able to lose fat.
In the study, ten overweight dieters who reduced their calories by 10 percent, lost a substantial amount of weight – but the kind of weight they lost was different depending on how long they slept.
More than half of the weight lost was fat for dieters who had a complete night’s worth of sleep, but only one-fourth of the weight lost was fat when the researchers took three hours off their sleep. This revealed that 75 percent that was burned was nonfat mass like protein, important building blocks of muscle and other vital body tissues.
You may wonder, how could this happen? Well the researchers think that it’s because of the way sleep levels affect the levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates hunger and supports fat retention. These are definitely two symptoms that you want to avoid if you are trying to lose weight. The authors wrote that “sleep loss amplifies these ghrelin-associated changes. Thus, the increased loss of fat-free body mass during the short-sleep condition of our study may be due to increased conversion of body protein into glucose to support the more prolonged metabolic needs of the waking brain and other glucose-dependent tissues.”
Since all the dieters stuck to the same calories during the study, keeping the sleep-deprived from giving in to their hunger pains, the experiment may even reveal less negative effects of sleeplessness than in reality.
So what can we learn from this? Lighten up on the work if you can and record that late night movie so you can get your much needed sleep. It is definitely the easiest way to combat those unwanted pounds.