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Can sleep help you lose weight? We have an answer

India Today 05-10-2022 India Today Web Desk
Sleep and a nutritious diet aids in weight loss. (Photo courtesy: Pexels) Sleep and a nutritious diet aids in weight loss. (Photo courtesy: Pexels)

If you're on a weight loss journey, then one of the most important things to remember is having a good night's sleep. Linked to both physical and mental health, sleep is often disregarded when someone is trying to lose weight and the focus often falls on dieting and exercise.

But medical experts have shared that in order to lose weight, sleeping at night cannot go unnoticed. According to Dr Rahul Sharma, Additional Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, the quality of one's sleep can be associated with not just weight gain or obesity but metabolic disorders too.

"Sleep is our superpower and good sleep is required for physical as well as mental health. Good sleep is also related to a nutritious diet. Lack of sleep can raise many problems such as metabolic disorders, weight gain, and increase in obesity. There is a direct correlation that has been found between the poor quality of sleep and weight gain," says Dr Sharma.

"Unless you have an 8-hour sleep, losing weight is problematic. There's water loss when we're breathing and sweating. You are unnecessarily consuming more calories if you're not sleeping well. In fact, there was a study wherein people who slept for four hours had almost a 10% increase in belly fat. Sleeping for 7-9 hours per night is a fundamental component of well-being," says Dr Renuka Dang, dietician at Global Rainbow Hospital, Agra.

It has also been found that people who are sleep-deprived tend to "choose" food high in calories. "They overeat,and binge eat, which increases the weight of the person," says Dr Sharma, adding that a high-calorie diet leads to fatigue and lethargic performance.

"Poor concentration, lack of activity, and lack of energy which decreases our day-to-day activities, decreases our exercise performance, and indirectly, we gain weight. So, sleep is related to a healthy body weight," he adds.

Our appetite is controlled by neurochemicals - ghrelin and leptin. Lack of sleep can trigger an increase of ghrelin which leads to hunger cravings, resulting in obesity. Leptin, on the other hand, a hormone, keeps our hunger in check and ensures satiation without overeating.

Foods that can help in calming the body and ensuring a good night's rest are nuts, chamomile tea and ginger tea. "Have your meal at least two hours before sleeping and stay away from junk food and caffeine. The best foods for the night are dry fruits, ginger and tulsi tea, cinnamon water, and chamomile tea," advises Dr Dang.

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