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For anyone trying to lose weight or just get healthier, a chronic sleep debt is a giant eraser scrubbing away at all those healthy choices you’re making with your diet. Here’s a quick reminder of why sleep is so important for weight loss.

Sleep matters for weight loss for two big reasons. First, there’s the behavioral aspect: how much sleep you get influences what you’re likely to put in your mouth. Second, there’s the metabolic aspect: sleep deprivation profoundly changes what happens to that food once it’s already down the hatch.

Sleeping woman

Many scientific studies have shown that if they’re allowed to choose their own diet, sleep-deprived subjects will eat more food, especially more junk. Assuming you aren’t living in a metabolic ward, you too have the ability to choose your own diet – and you too will likely go for the “comfort food” in the face of sleep deprivation. Specifically, sleep deprivation is a huge risk factor for sugar cravings and overeating high-carb junk food.

Insulin sensitivity is the metabolic capacity to handle eating carbs – to use them for energy, instead of storing them as fat. A reduction in insulin sensitivity means that you’re more likely to store food as fat. In this study, for example, either sleeping 5 hours a night or sleeping at the wrong time (the shift work pattern) increased markers of inflammation.

This study makes it even clearer: “sleep deficient humans…exhibit a proinflammatory component; therefore, sleep loss (weight gain) is considered as a risk factor for developing cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). If you are obese and trying to lose weight Click here to download the weight loss manual

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