So.... SLEEP..... important right? 

But can it help you lose FAT? 

I know I bang on about it quite a lot, but sleep is like – really important

It helps your muscles, skin and organs repair themselves, it allows your CNS to reset, it helps you consolidate learning and it helps you regulate your appetite.

(yep, sugar can help you stop snacking on sugar and processed foods) 

Those are just vague effects, sure, so let’s put some real world application to it all.

Sleeping badly can have direct, measurable effects on your success during a fat loss phase.

A 2012 study was performed to ascertain the effects of sleep quantity and quality on fat loss. Researchers took 123 overweight and obese men and women aged 35-47 and, with the help of a dietician, placed them on a diet which reflected a 6-700 kcal per day calorie deficit.

During the intervention, participants lost weight. That much should be expected.

What may not be expected, however, was the size of the range of weight loss. Participants lost between 1.6 and 8.4kg, which is a huge difference from top to bottom!

The researchers took into account age, sex, baseline BMI, length of the intervention and the change in total energy intake, then compared those who scored well on tests of sleep quality and quantity. What they found was a statistically significant relationship between how well a person slept and how much weight they lost over the intervention 

that’s a pretty big finding!

Of course, a lot could be going on here. There could be a physiological thing going on whereby fat loss becomes more difficult when you are tired, but in my opinion this relates to the particpants’ ability to adhere to the dietary intervention.

Sleep badly, crave food, feel more hunger, cheat on your diet, and have less energy to train, or push the body when you do train 

Regardless of the reason, the results are pretty stark, and they provide a very bold reminder. 

Sleep matters, and whether it’s your own fat loss or the fat loss of others at stake, it should be something you take into consideration every time!

Post by Tom Bainbridge, Body Type Nutrition Academy Tutor (we teach lots about sleep in the Academy) 

Reference: Chaput JP and Tremblay A. “Sleeping habits predict the magnitude of fat loss in adults exposed to moderate caloric restriction.” Obes Facts. 2012;5(4):561-6.

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