Our number 1 weight loss tip is…(drumroll please! And, you can, and should read this in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice) GO THE F*** TO SLEEP!
Seriously, just go to sleep. Why will this help you lose weight? For several reasons. Eating habits are fairly complex – it’s never as simple as just eating less. We’re motivated by numerous factors: hunger, emotions, boredom, etc. If you stay up late and binge watch your latest show, you might indulge a craving that has nothing to do with hunger. We often couple behaviors – smoking a cigarette with coffee was a popular one in the 1990’s. Snacking and TV is still popular. Want to curb your snacking? Go the f*** to sleep!
Furthermore, many of us enjoy a cocktail (or 6) to unwind at night. Alcohol leads to dehydration. Often when we’re dehydrated, we feel hungry. Our signals cross – what we really need is water. This is why another common weight loss strategy is to drink water and then see if you’re still hungry. But many of us don’t drink water when we consume alcohol, and we end up craving hyperpalatable foods – pizza, chips, peanuts, etc. Couple that with our lowered inhibitions, and you have a recipe for caloric overload. We can bypass the whole issue with a simple strategy: go the f*** to sleep!
Intermittent fasting is often touted as a miracle weight loss strategy. In reality, it simply shortens the window of time we allow ourselves to eat. As a result, we eat less food. There are numerous strategies and protocols for fasting. If you’re getting 8 hours of shut eye per night, that’s 8 hours you cannot be eating. You’re already following a 16:8 feeding to fasting ratio. By definition, that is intermittent fasting. Have we convinced you yet? Seriously, just go to sleep.
Finally, we can dive a little bit into biology. When you have a poor night’s sleep, your cortisol (stress hormone) elevates. This can make it more challenging to lose weight. You also have decreased insulin sensitivity and increased inflammation, which increases blood glucose levels often associated with diabetes. Furthermore, sleep greatly affects our appetite-related hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that suppresses appetite. Chronic sleep deprivation (e.g., 5 hours of sleep regularly), can lead to lower levels of leptin. The “opposite” hormone of leptin is ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Lack of sleep leads to higher levels of ghrelin. So hormonally, a lack of sleep is a double whammy – less appetite suppression, and more appetite stimulation.
To reiterate, by just going the f*** to sleep, you can practice intermittent fasting, you can prevent late night snacking, you can avoid the pitfalls associated with alcohol, you can regulate cortisol, leptin, and ghrelin, and maintain insulin sensitivity. That’s why this is our number 1 weight loss hack. We’ll see you in the gym. Now go the fuck to sleep already!