This is your starting point.
Sleep is so important that, that if you don’t get it right, you’re not gonna see the results you’re looking for. Even if I give you the best diet advice and the best workouts on the planet. It’s that simple.
If that’s news to you, that’s a very good indication of why you’ve had such a hard time losing weight.
How do I know that? Because I struggled with this for the longest time. Back in 2012, I was already working out around that time, but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I was getting strong, but the way my body looked didn’t really reflect it. It looked like I didn’t work out at all. I wasn’t getting a very good return on my time investment and I couldn’t really figure out why.
Back then, I bartended at a nightclub to pay the bills. Which meant that getting off work at 3:00 a.m. was a regular thing. I went to a lot of parties. I played video games and would often go to bed at some ungodly hour. Sleep back then was basically just an option and not a necessity.
Long story short, I still had no idea what I was doing. I lived off fast food because it was the only thing that’s available late at night. Really, I had it at any time because I didn’t know any better. It resulted in me gaining weight—a lot of weight.
You can’t just ignore your sleep
Sound familiar? I know I’m not alone on that. Most people fall into this trap. They’re under the impression that they can just look up the “best” workout program out there and ignore their sleep and nutrition and expect to lose weight. People even look up workouts for specific body parts, thinking they can just spot-treat themselves.
The problem is, it doesn’t work that way.
You can do 100 sit ups every day, but if you have a lot of fat to lose and you have a crappy diet, you’re simply not going to see the results you’re looking for. I call this the “hope and pray” method, and you’re gonna be hoping and praying for a long time if this is your strategy.
I spent a good chunk of my twenties getting an average of five to six hours of sleep per night and wondered why I always felt like crap, why I couldn’t lose weight, why I always had low energy, and why I always seemed to get sick at least once a month. Sound familiar?
The thing is, people seem to wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honor, like someone is gonna give them a medal for being tough and pulling off an all-nighter a couple of times a week. I mean, that’s how you stay productive, right? No wonder I never considered my lack of sleep to be a problem. I just didn’t know any better. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing any weight.
It turns out, depriving myself of sleep is one of the biggest reasons why. I explain this more in further detail in this video.
Not-so-fun facts about sleep
Getting by on five hours of sleep and pulling off an all-nighter isn’t a testament to your mental endurance, toughness, and how productive you are. In fact, not getting enough sleep is probably one of the biggest reasons why you’re not losing weight. Here’s what you need to know about sleep.
According to research, lack of sleep has a direct relation to weight gain (and eventually obesity) and raises your risk of developing heart disease. The term “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” will have a whole new meaning to you if you keep ignoring your sleep. Yet we deprive ourselves of sleep all the time. Here’s a few numbers that jump out right away if you don’t get enough sleep.
Studies show that over a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Why is that important? Well, when you consider the fact that the obesity rates for men and women in the US are nearly the same, the relationship between sleep and obesity starts to make a little bit more sense.
The Less You Sleep, the More You Weigh
To put it simply, people who don’t get enough sleep at night tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. There’s almost a direct correlation between the two. In fact, lack of sleep is one of the strongest contributors to obesity. That and if you eat a lot of refined carbs and sugar. In one study, children and adults who were sleep-deprived were 89 and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively.
Participants in the same study who reported less than five hours of sleep per night had an approximately 40% higher risk of developing obesity than those who reported seven to eight hours of sleep.
Here’s more. A study that recorded the sleep patterns of 9000 people indicated that those who averaged only six hours of sleep per night were 27% more likely to be overweight than those who slept seven to nine hours. It gets worse. The participants who averaged five hours of sleep were 73% more likely to be overweight.
What 5 hours of sleep does to your body
Let me repeat that for a second. Five hours of sleep increases your chances of being overweight by 73 freaking percent! And if all that wasn’t enough, sleep deprivation makes you eat bigger portion sizes, further increasing the likelihood of you gaining weight. It also disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation.
You’re fighting a losing battle all because you’re not getting enough sleep. You’re literally fighting against your hormones. Here’s where it gets more serious. A review of 15 studies found that short sleepers are at a far greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep seven to eight hours per night.
In a study of healthy young men, restricting sleep to four hours per night for six nights in a row caused symptoms of pre-diabetes. Yikes.
Sleep is necessary if you wanna lose weight
Sleep is just something that most of us are willing to sacrifice in a heartbeat. What I do know is that sleep is absolutely necessary to your success if you wanna lose weight. I wrote this post for a reason because it’s something that you can fix right away, starting tonight!
Sleep deprivation has so many negative effects on your body that it’s almost impossible to lose weight until you fix your sleep. If you’re wondering why your last attempt at losing weight didn’t go according to plan, not getting enough sleep is probably one of the biggest reasons why (and also if you have a crappy diet and don’t exercise).
It’s just as important as having the right mindset, eating healthy, and working out. You need to have all four working in unison if you want long-term results. Again, I’ve never heard anyone complain about actually getting enough sleep at night.
Okay, now that we’ve established why sleep is important for weight loss, we need to find out how much sleep you actually need.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, if you are between the ages of 18 and 65, you need to get anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Cool? Cool.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!