Maintaining healthy body weight is an important aspect of our overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, it is not easy for the majority of the population. According to IDF, Diabetes Atlas and World Health Organizsation, 2020 over 600 million people suffer from obesity worldwide. Furthermore, WHO states that at least 2.8 million people are dying each year as a consequence of being obese or overweight.
In general, following a healthy eating pattern and doing the regular physical activity are considered two important factors that help you lose weight. however, a recent scientific study shows a surprising connection between your sleep quality and the weight loss process. In this study, short sleep duration has been recognized as a predominant risk factor for obesity and weight gain.
The research suggests that improving and maintaining adequate sleep duration could offer great help in the weight loss process. This measure can be used as a viable intervention for obesity prevention and weight loss programs.
What is this surprising connection between your sleep and weight loss journey? How can improving your sleep help you in losing weight? Read on to know more.
Relationship between your sleep and weight loss
Your poor sleep quality affects your weight loss journey negatively in multiple ways.
- When we are sleep-deprived, we feel tired and have a lack of energy in performing regular physical activities. If it happens on a regular basis, it leads to a lack of physical activities and results in weight gain.
- Sleeping less increases your food cravings and affects your food preferences. A scientific study shows that sleep deprivation significantly increases the desire for high-calorie food and carbohydrates. Increased consumption of unhealthy food not only leads to weight gain but disrupts your weight-loss journey as well.
- Sleep deprivation also promotes the habit of emotional eating and causes unwanted weight gain. A relationship between short sleep duration and elevated food consumption exists in those who are prone to emotional eating.
- Sleep deprivation causes a drastic impact on two important hormones (ghrelin and leptin) that regulate our appetite. These two hormones play an important role in regulating our hunger and feeling of fullness after eating. When we sleep less, it causes an increase in ghrelin hormone level and decreases leptin level. A high ghrelin level increases the feeling of hunger, while a decrease in leptin level reduces the feeling of fullness and makes you hungry often.
- Lack of quality sleep also causes “Insulin resistance”. Insulin resistance is a condition where cells in your muscle do not respond to insulin well and lead to increased blood sugar levels. Research shows that chronic sleep loss works as a significant risk factor for weight gain, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Sleep loss results in the elevation of cortisol (stress) hormones and puts a negative impact on various body functions.
- The pre-frontal cortex is an important brain part that plays a central role in performing cognitive functions. Sleep deprivation affects the functionality of the pre-frontal cortex negatively and disrupts cognitive function. This lowers the alertness and alters the ability to take complex decision. A sleep-deprived person often makes poor food choices and faces a constant struggle in adopting lifestyle practices.
- Our body has an automatic repair mechanism. When we sleep, the repair mechanism starts functioning. It repairs damaged muscles and tissues and gets rid of unwanted toxins. Lack of sleep disturbs the body’s repairing mechanism and causes the accumulation of toxins in the body. This continuous cycle leaves us exhausted and makes the weight loss process harder.
Tips to improve your sleep quality
- Fix a sleep schedule. Sleep and wake up at the same time. This helps in adjusting your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) and improves your sleep quality.
- Switch off electronic devices at least 1 hour before sleeping. Increased screen time and late night online surfing are one of the prime reasons for poor sleep quality.
- Follow a relaxing nighttime ritual. Include relaxing activities like meditation, reading, listening to soft music or taking a warm shower in your nighttime routine. These relaxing activities calm your mind and help your sleep better.
- Have your dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime. And go for a Stroll (slow walk) after having your food. This not only improves your digestion but also improves your sleep quality as well.
- Avoid taking caffeine or other stimulant drinks before bedtime. Caffeine or other stimulating drink make your brain alert and cause a disruptive effect on your sleep.
- Do not drink too much liquid or water before bedtime. It will cause frequent urination and disturb your sleep at night.
- Pay proper attention to your sleeping environment. Avoid things that can disrupt your sleep. Maintain a comfortable temperature in your room while sleeping. Also, avoid light disruption in your room by using blackout curtains or other measures.
- Use good quality mattresses and other bedroom essentials. A good quality mattress plays a vital role in improving your sleep quality and thus improving your overall health as well.
So how do you choose a good mattress? Let us look at some popular mattresses and the way they can help improve your sleep quality.
Various popular mattresses options for improving sleep quality
Nowadays, various mattress options are available in the market that claim to improve sleep quality and thus help you in weight loss. Each one has its own pros and cons. You can select any one as per your individual sleeping requirements.
Here are some details about popular mattresses and their unique features that put a strong impact on your sleep quality.
Innerspring mattresses are the most traditional type of mattresses. They have layers or packs of springs as a core. They are well-known for being supportive, bouncy and firm. These mattresses have good temperature regulation and help you sleep cool, even during hot weather. Also, they are less expensive than other popular mattresses. As a drawback, they offer poor motion isolation. The durability of an innerspring mattress depends upon the type of innerspring that has been used in manufacturing. On an average these mattresses last for around 5-6 years.
Memory foam mattress
Memory foam mattresses are known for their amazing body contouring properties. They provide great pressure relief and are considered a preferred option for those who suffer from neck, back or other joint pain. Memory foam mattresses work great for back and side sleepers. They allow you to sleep more into the mattress and create a sink-in feeling while sleeping. However, memory foam tends to absorb body heat and make you sleep hot. So, they are not a good option for hot sleepers.
A latex mattress is made of sap of rubber trees. Latex mattresses are well known for their natural origin. They offer a great balance of comfort and support. They are a great choice for those who prefer to sleep more on the mattress surface. It is easy to move around on a latex mattress surface and this feature offers great help to those who have mobility issues.
A latex mattress is more durable. They have great temperature regulation features and keep you cool, even in hot weather. They are the best option for those who prefer natural and eco-friendly mattresses option. Expert suggests that natural latex is the best material option. It is more resilient and durable compared to other mattress materials.
Hybrid mattresses are another popular mattress option. As the name suggested, they use a combination of material layers to form a mattress. At the base it has a traditional coil system or foam at the base and a comfort layer of memory foam or latex at the top. They offer buoyant support while sleeping and do not cause any sink-in feeling like typical memory foam mattresses. A hybrid mattress reduces motion transfer and may have temperature regulation properties. These are budget friendly options as compared to 100% natural latex mattresses.
A quick comparison between popular mattresses for improving sleep quality
Selecting a good quality mattress for improving your sleep quality is a major task. You should make a final purchase after performing thorough research and comparing all available options.
There are multiple factors like temperature regulation, breathability, motion transfer, quality of material, body support and comfort that should be taken into consideration before deciding on your final option. Additionally, your individual body parameters like your body weight and sleeping position also possess equal importance that help you in making the right decision.
For a detailed comparison between different kinds of mattresses read - Type of Mattress - 2022 (A Complete Guide)
In general, latex mattresses are the best option for improving sleep quality. It keeps your spine in a neutral position and helps you sleep better at night. This way, it can help you in your weight loss journey.