Published on Shefinds.com Sept 20, 2021 by Olivia Zavitson.
While it may be easy to prioritize your waking priorities over rest, not getting enough sleep could have detrimental effects on your health. Especially if you’re on a weight loss journey, getting good quality sleep is necessary for seeing optimal results. However, “going to bed” is often easier said than done, as stress, diet, and life in general can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, even if you’re absolutely exhausted when your head hits the pillow. Having specific goals in mind for cleaning up your sleep hygiene can be helpful when on a journey to improve sleep quality, so we asked Dr. Matt Chalmers, founder of Chalmers Wellness, how much sleep you should be getting every night for optimal weight loss.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand why our body needs sleep. “While we sleep, the body releases several hormones that are critical for good metabolism and contribute to weight loss.” Dr. Chalmers says.
These include growth hormones, which help build bone and muscle, testosterone, which is tied to fat loss, leptin, which signals to the body that you are full, and a collection of thyroid stimulating hormones, which is the driving source of your metabolism. “Without these hormones, metabolism stalls and the ‘fire' that burns calories and fat gets smaller. Over time, poor sleeping habits can lead to fat gain, stress, anxiety and mental and physical fatigue.”
Sleep controls a lot of systems in the body that make or break a weight loss journey. So if you want to get into the specifics, how much sleep should you be getting? According to Dr. Chalmers, you should aim for at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
While there is no predetermined time you should go to bed, whatever time in your schedule that allows you to sleep for 6-8 hours is the best time to aim for. Weight loss is all about making accommodations in your schedule that are maintainable, so going to bed at a time that allows you to get 6-8 hours of rest is what you should focus on.
Dr. Chalmers shared some recommendations for lifestyle changes that can make getting to sleep easier. “One of the best things a person can do to have an easier time falling asleep and get a better night’s sleep is to stop interacting with anything electronic with a screen or light at least 30 minutes before going to bed,” he says, “Also remove bright lights from rooms you are in right before bed. Light tricks the brain into producing chemicals that will keep you awake.” Additionally, adding in a meditation or light yoga routine before bed can help relax your body and mind.
Sleep controls just as much of your weight loss success as eating well and exercising. There is no “perfect time” to go to bed, rather you should focus on getting good quality rest that fits into your schedule. Doing things like limiting electronic use before bed and setting up a strong sleep routine are ways you can improve your sleep and make a long term investment in your weight loss journey.