Need to lose weight? Sleep it off!

Yes, I’m serious!

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Question: When we talk about weight loss, what are the two key components we hear most?
Answer: Diet and Exercise.

We hear this because, particularly as we age, we have to be even more mindful about what we eat and we have to work harder in they gym (or wherever we get exercise) to shed those pounds. But, after all our diligence and our efforts, we might be wrecking things in the most unlikely of places: our bedrooms.

By simply not getting the sleep we need, we are robbing ourselves of an easy way to accelerate our weight loss efforts.   You might be aware of some of the obvious benefits of sleep already.  First, you need to replenish you energy so that you can be up to the task of working out again, as well as keeping up your motivation to do so.  Second, it helps with heart health, which is king of important to the whole exercise thing.

However, there is another component that sleep brings that is also vital to weight loss.  As we get older, starting in our 30’s, our ability to create Human Growth Hormone (HGH) diminishes and continues to decline as we get older.  HGH, in addition to helping us grow, also works to restore muscle tissue. It’s believe that this decline in the production of HGH is a big reason for why we experience “middle age spread”.  Certain exercises, like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can help spur its production.  Eating the right kinds of foods can help.  Even supplements like melatonin are said to have a positive effect.  However, you need to get a good, deep sleep.

It is in a deep-sleep that HGH is released which, as stated previously, helps us in fighting the fat.   Now, granted, you’re not going to magically generate HGH at the levels of your youth.  You’ll have to take your complaints to Mother Nature and Father Time on this one.  However, you do want to make the most of what you still have.  Doing so requires that you are getting a sound sleep, which should be around 7-8 hours.

This is a blow to night-owls like me, who want to believe that burning the candle at both ends doesn’t have consequences.  But, as my own spread can testify, it does.

So, keep eating well and working out but, don’t skimp on the sleep.  It will do wonders on your road to a better you.

Written by JP Smith

A self-proclaimed "technologist...with attitude", I'm a forty-something husband, father and IT professional/enthusiast. I believe that learning and growth are lifelong endeavors.