NEW STUDY: Your Sleep Schedule is Hurting Your Weight-Loss

by | Mar 7, 2023 | Fitness, Weight-Loss

You step onto the scale and the needle hasn’t budged a millimeter. What gives? Maybe you’re not tracking your macros properly, or being overly generous with logging your workouts. Or, if a new study is to be believed, your problems are down to your lack of a proper sleep schedule.

Turns out getting the necessary amount of shuteye can be one your best weapons in the war against that dreaded dad bod. A recent study presented at the American Heart Foundation’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023 looked at how our sleeping patterns affect weight gain.

READ MORE: 8 Weird But Completely Effective Weight Loss Tips

Researchers roped in 125 fifty-something adults with obesity. Over the next year, each participant took part in a so-called “12-month weight loss intervention” programme. At the start, halfway through the intervention, and right at the end, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about various aspects of their sleeping patterns such as regularity, timing, efficiency and duration.

pillows and bedsheets in a mess after sleep
PILLOW TALK: Those who get adequate shuteye are more likely to stick to their diets and workouts.

The researchers also clocked participants’ adherence to the weight loss programme by tracking their calorie intake and physical activity. The result? Those who slept more and had regular bedtimes were the most likely to stick doggedly to their weight loss goals.

So, what does that mean for you? Well, if you’re struggling to haul your ass to the gym or minimise your portions, a regular sleep schedule could translate into thousands of torched calories. Factor in other findings, such as research that showed that those who are constantly sleep deprived are far more likely to snack on junk food than their well-rested counterparts, and you’re looking at a winning formula for chipping away at flab.

READ MORE: The Science Behind How Weight Loss Actually Works

But sleep can be elusive for many of us. Workday stress, noisy neighbours and an abundance of blue light from our various screens can all wreak havoc on any hopes of having a regular sleep schedule. The Sleep Foundation suggests reinstating a set bedtime so that you’re not tempted to indulge on Netflix in lieu of hitting the hay.

You’ll need to have a “wind-down window” to ensure this bedtime sticks. Set aside around 30 minutes to an hour to start priming your brain for sleep. Then, try this:

1. Stash Away Your Smartphone

Blue light is the archnemesis of sleep because it tricks your mind into thinking it’s still daytime. That, in turn, hits the brakes on melatonin production, putting you in a state of wakefulness. While most of us have made mindless scrolling through Instragram or Reddit a fundamental part of our evening hours, swapping this activity for a paperback could be exactly what Doctor Sleep ordered.

READ MORE: 7 Weird Things That Can Happen While You Sleep

Not ready to ditch the digital lifestyle? Make use of your phone’s red light filter; most models will let you sieve out blue rays as you get closer to your bedtime.

2. Stretch It Out

NAMASTE: A yoga session before bed could help you get to sleep faster.

A National Health Interview Survey found that those who cap their days with a session of yoga tended to fall asleep faster than stiff sleepers. Bonus: 85% of those surveyed said the activity helped reduce stress. Not sure where to start? Yoga With Adriene is a reliable creator with a calming voice who has comprehensive guides to almost every stretch and sessions you can follow easily at home.

3. Have a Soak 

A night-time drop in your body temperature will trigger your sleep response, ramping up melatonin production and helping you doze off. One study found that those who took baths just before heading to bed were able to emulate this temp shift as they cooled down from their warm soak.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This