How Sleep Aids in Natural Weight Loss

Weight Loss - How Ghrelin and Leptin Work in the Body
Infographic from Bodybuilding.com
It has been found that approximately 70% of growth hormones are produced by the body during sleep.  

Recent and current medical research is shedding light on the relationship between sleeping and weight gain or loss by explaining how certain hormones that are produced by the body during sleep may play a key role in regulating metabolism and appetite control.


Ghrelin
One such hormone is Ghrelin, which is a growth-releasing peptide that is secreted by cells that line the stomach and the pancreas.  Ghrelin is thought to stimulate appetite (i.e., trigger feelings of hunger) when increased levels of Ghrelin are present in the blood plasma.  Studies have shown that overweight or obese people have higher concentrations of Ghrelin in their blood plasma.

Leptin  
Another such hormone is Leptin, which is released by the body's fat cells and acts on the hypothalamus.  Studies show that Leptin plays a key role in regulating energy intake and expenditure, including appetite and metabolism.  Leptin is also believed to suppress appetite by signaling satiety (a feeling of being full) to the brain.  Increased levels of Leptin are thought to inhibit feelings of hunger.

You Snooze You Lose - Obesity Linked to Hormonal Changes and Lack of
Sleep - Standford News
Studies of Ghrelin and Leptin Levels in Human Subjects
In various studies involving human subjects, it has been found that, when the amount of sleep was restricted, the levels of Leptin (the appetite suppressing hormone) were decreased and the levels of Ghrelin (the appetite stimulating hormone) were increased.  The results of these studies suggest that there is a direct relationship between sleep and appetite control and the lack of sleep may lead to the brain receiving the wrong signals.  This, in turn, may lead to food cravings and overeating, particularly of foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Melatonin
Melatonin, a hormone which is produced by the pineal gland and which is also believed to be involved in energy metabolism, has also been linked to loss of weight and abdominal fat in animal studies.  Interestingly, in these animal studies, the weight loss effect of the supplemented Melatonin did not involve a restricted caloric intake (diet) nor extra physical exertion (exercise).  Whether or not Melatonin produces the same effect in humans is still not known and requires further study.  However, Melatonin is thought to be a powerful antioxidant and has been studied and associated as being potentially beneficial in the treatment of various other diseases and disorders.

The pineal gland is inactive during the day.  It only becomes active and begins releasing Melatonin when it gets dark and when most people typically sleep.  Hence, it is often called the "sleep hormone" or the "hormone of darkness".

Conclusion:  You Need to Snooze to Lose!

Although research concerning the effect of sleep on weight loss continues, from the data that is already currently available, it appears that sleep restriction or deprivation may not only interfere with weight loss efforts but also may trigger, contribute to or actually cause weight gain.  Hence, it would seem that getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis is a sound, healthy practice which not only allows the body to restore and heal itself but may have the added benefit of aiding in weight loss or proper body weight maintenance.

Related:
17 Science-Backed Sleeping Hacks to Boost Health
The Best Supplements to Boost Energy and Fight Fatigue


Disclaimer: Nothing in this Article is intended or should be construed as medical advise, diagnosis or treatment or the advocating of taking any hormone or other supplements. All content herein is for informational purposes only. You should consult with and seek the advise of a physician or qualified health professional before taking any supplements, or starting an exercise or diet program, to determine it is right for your individual needs.



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