I know at this time of year A LOT of people are interested in weight loss and while restarting diet and gym routines is the way of the masses, let me introduce you a little-known secret towards weight loss – SLEEP.
Research is constantly revealing new facets of the Sleep-Weight connection, even more so now with evidence pointing to how sleep has also had a deep connection to your microbiome (gut health) which is also directly related to your current weight and ability to lose weight.
Does the consistency of your sleep help you to lose weight? YES!
A study published in June of 2019 in the International Journal of Obesity noted that high sleep variability and short sleep cycles predicted plateaus with weight loss and overall difficulty in losing weight. The study looked at how both sleep amounts and the degree of variability in sleep schedules affect weight. The scientists discovered:
– Better sleep was more powerful at breaking weight loss plateaus than pushing harder with diet and exercise
– Consistent bedtimes and wake times weekly increases the likelihood of lowering BMI (Body Mass Index) and Body Fat Percentage.
– Sleep duration matters: Those who slept 7-9 hours nightly lost more weight and had greater reductions in waist circumference than those who slept less than 6 hours.
Another study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health in early 2019 found that sleep was the most important factor for weight loss, even more than the duration of time between evening meals and bedtime. This groundbreaking research highlighted that both short sleep and highly irregular sleep times resulted in elevated blood sugars, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity.
Watch Out For “Make Up Sleeping”
A University of Colorado study also published in 2019 found that most adults who used the weekend to recover from sleep loss during the workweek consumed more food volume, expended less energy and gained more weight than those who held a consistent sleep/wake time, even on the weekends. The most shocking finding in their study was that nearly all participants who used the weekends sleep longer had significantly increased insulin sensitivity – a precursor to diabetes!
Sleep and Your Microbiome
The link between your microbiome (gut bacterial health) and weight has been vastly explored in research, suggesting that it is perhaps one of the strongest players in your overall weight/metabolism management. Any disruption in healthy bacterial profiles can alter both digestive and hormone function – which is strongly connected with weight loss/gain as well as insulin resistance, inflammatory and fat deposits within the abdominal cavity (visceral fat).
In September of 2019 new research published in the journal Nature revealed a deep connection between sleep rhythms and the health of gut microbiome – one that carries a double-edged sword. Worsening sleep patterns and altered bedtime/wake times negatively affected the microbiome which, in turn, negatively affected sleep patterns! This is primarily due to the fact that your microbiome (gut) is a major producer of melatonin, and up to 400x more are found in the gut than in your brain!
The gut also makes and releases other hormones that are critical to sleep, including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.
Takeaway: Both duration and schedule of sleep are important factors in weight loss, weight management, and overall metabolic health. The research within 2019 points out crucial new details on how important sleep and circadian rhythms appear to affect the health and functioning of the gut, your overall health and ability to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
I would highly suggest you begin to set a consistent bedtime and wake times daily (including weekends) that offer you 7+ hours of sleep and continue to follow your cellular healing diet/detoxification guidelines along with the various strategies presented here and on www.AskDrErnst.com for maintaining a healthy microbiome as your waist (and overall health) will thank you greatly!