Posted by Dayne Hudson in Health / Nutrition
Estimated reading time: 5mins
With many of us wanting to lose weight, one of the first things to get right is our shuteye. Research shows the quality of your sleep is directly related to how much fat you lose.
Another study into overweight or obese adults placed them on a diet for 8 weeks and split them into two groups; a controlled sleep group (they slept as they normally would) and a sleep-deprived group. Those in the sleep-restricted group were instructed to reduce their time in bed for 5 nights and to sleep for as long as they'd like for the remaining two nights. Both groups ate at 95% of their resting metabolic rate (which would result in fat loss for all).
What effect did sleep have on their fat loss?
Well, the total amount of mass lost from fat was significantly greater in the group who slept more. The authors concluded that approximately one hour of restricted sleep for five nights a week led to less fat loss. Interestingly to note was that the "catch up" two days of sleep the restricted group were told to have, didn't reverse the negatives fat loss effects in this study.
So adequate sleep is critical for you when you're looking to lose fat, and even an hour less sleep across five days can prove costly!
Sleep has a dramatic effect on muscle mass. One study found that an enormous 80 per cent of lost scale weight was lean muscle when subjects slept just 5.5 hours every night for 14 days! These study subjects (3 women and 7 men) underwent 14 days of a moderate calorie deficit and were randomised to either sleeping 8.5 hours or 5.5 hours.
So, when we're dieting for fat loss (and obviously want to keep our muscle mass) adequate sleep is critical. (We'll get to how much in a moment).
Moreover, lack of sleep obviously impairs your performance in the gym. How many times have you had a half-baked sleep only to turn up in the gym with little to no energy, and lifting next to nothing?
And even if you get enough sleep and have a good workout, you better then get enough recovery sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can drastically affect your muscle gains!
In this study into seven males and six females, the subjects were randomised to either one night of total sleep deprivation, and/or a normal night's sleep. They wanted to see what effect this had on anabolic (muscle building) hormonal responses and catabolic (muscle wasting) markers. They reported a reduced muscle protein synthesis rate of 18 per cent in the sleep derived group and an increase in the stress hormone cortisol by 21 per cent. To make it even worse, plasma testosterone was decreased by 24 per cent!
So basically, one night of no sleep halts muscle growth pretty significantly...
So, the next time you're having a big night out after a gym session, think again!
This is the next obvious question, with research suggesting it depends on our age:
Moreover, we need to cut out screens before bed for adequate sleep. We're talking about iPads, smartphones, etc. A recent review found:
"Media device access and use at bedtime are significantly associated with detrimental sleep outcomes, and lead to poor health outcomes."
Research into this is in its infantry stages, but the picture for device access is looking bleak! Stay away from your screens before bed for optimal muscle growth and fat loss!
The situation is so bad, that some researchers in America are pushing for later school starting hours for adolescents to ensure they get more sleep because they aren't putting their phones away at night.
The bottom line is we need to get enough sleep according to the aforementioned recommendations. The old advice of 8 hours is sufficient, with up to 9 being beneficial, too. Sleep will help us lose more weight, maintain muscle mass, and grow more too, whilst allowing for better mental function, and a better mood!