Thursday, February 16, 2012

How important is sleep to weight loss?

For as long as I can remember, I've been a night owl and have always run on about 5-6 hours of sleep.  As a kid, I begged to stay up late enough to watch the weather.  It was over at 11:20pm then it would be up to bed because I'd sneak out of my room to watch if I wasn't allowed.  I think I just wore my parents down on that one.  So you figure I'd get to sleep by 11:45pm if I was lucky but closer to midnight.  When I would get up for school to shellac my hair in aqua net and apply my war paint, I would get up between 6:30-6:45am and be out of the house an hour later.

When I got married, my habits didn't change much.  The Mr would be knocked out on the couch by 10pm (nowadays it's between 9:30-10pm because he's a wuss.  HA!) and I would be heading up to bed at midnight.  It's still that way.  We get upstairs and he goes right back to sleep while I need to have the Golden Girls on as my nightly ritual.  I typically turn the tv off around 12:30am and I get up at 7am when he's done in the bathroom. So I get at least 6 to 6 1/2 hours of sleep per night  If I get 8 hours on the weekend.  I'm totally screwed.  I feel horrible, my back will hurt, I feel more tired than if I got 6 hours of sleep and I just feel like crap all day.

It's hard not to see the articles all around you touting how you need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night for your body to lose weight.  But is an hour or 90 minutes really that far off that it could have a negative impact on my weight loss?  I've visited this subject before but I just cannot get into gear to get to bed earlier.  It's hereditary I think because my mom is the same way.  I want to try this but I find if I go to bed when I'm not tired I sit there thinking, my mind starts racing then I end up with insomnia because I can't shut my mind off.

Has anyone purposely slept longer to aid in weight loss and saw success or did your weight stay the same?

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10 comments:

  1. This is a tough one... I usually got to bed around 10:30 or 11 and I'm up around 6. However when I was going to the gym, I was going to bed at the same time, but getting up at 4am. I didn't notice a problem, until I quit the gym and started back with my regular sleep schedule. Only then did the weight start to come off more easily. Was it more sleep that did it? Or was it just time to start losing again? I don't know. I think you should get the sleep your body needs. How would you force yourself to sleep more anyhow? Tricky situation!

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  2. I think that's a question to add to your list for you doctor's appointment. I've read some of those articles, but then I've read other stuff that basically says that since people are individual and different, that that their sleep needs are also different. Some people really are fine with 5-6 hours a night, while others (like me) suffer if they get less than a full 8.

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  3. I can definitely tell a difference in both my attitude and my adherence to my "plan" when I get enough sleep (~7-8 hours for me) vs. when I don't. I have more energy for workouts and greater ability to resist the splurge when I'm feeling rested. Plus, I'm less cranky. :)

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  4. I am the same way! I have always liked to stay up late and even when I make an effort to go to bed earlier, I end up waking early, still getting 6-7 hours instead of 8. I usually sleep better when it's a short amount too, like I sleep harder instead of waking up a lot. I am an introvert, and right now I'm reading this book about introverts, and it says they typically need less sleep than extroverted people. I find that interesting. There are times when I just feel wiped out and will go bed early, but I normally go to bed between 11-12 and get up around 7. When I had my kids I got even more accustomed to being up all hours, and I was lucky that both my kids slept through the night early on, because during that time I was very sleep deprived.

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  5. I only know that on the weekends, when I sleep in (I weight every morning when I get up), my weight is less because my body has been burning the calories as I slept for a little bit longer.

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  6. Interesting question and responses. I would ask if you are using an alarm to get you up in the morning. If not, if you are waking up naturally, I'd say you're getting enough sleep. Whether it's affecting your weight loss is a really good question. If it were me, I'd be researching everything I could find online and also asking the doctor at my next appointment. I can't relate more or less sleep to my weight fluctuations at all. I wake up naturally at around 6 a.m. after 6-7 hours of sleep punctuated by one or more trips to the bathroom. (I'm old, lol.)

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  7. I get between 6.5 - 7.5 each night and I really feel like that's all I need...but I've never tried to change it and see if it has an effect on my weight loss. Although, what would end up getting cut with extra sleep is my working out time, so I tend to think the workout is more beneficial than the sleep! :-)

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  8. I'm really glad to see all of these different responses! Keep it up guys!

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  9. I was the same way my whole life. I've finally gotten on a semi-normal sleep schedule (I still have my off days) and am able to sleep 7- 8hrs. My doctor suggested the supplement Melatonin & 5 HTP (relaxes you). With this combo I can fall asleep easily and stay asleep. Eventually I would like to do this on my own though. But for now it works. Better than taking ambien or any other synthetic or addictive drug.

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  10. If you wake up without an alarm, and are happy during the day, you're doing fine. Everyone's different.

    Another point to think about: I find that in the winter our family really needs to sleep a lot more. So seasons may also affect this.

    I'm in awe of your energy, by the way!

    Annie Kate
    http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2012/02/winter-sleep/

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