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Sleep-Your Weight Loss Pill

Thursday, August 03, 2017
By Munmun Ganeriwal

The Bhagwad Gita speaks about the importance of sleep. During the great battle of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna told Arjun that for a meaningful Yoga practice, balance in sleep is crucial. Lord Vishnu is said to have brought forth the universe from his navel, during his sleep.  Creation literally grows during sleep.

Lack of sleep or the sleep “debt” not only makes you feel cranky and tired, decreases your work productivity, but also influences how much you eat. Not getting enough sleep impairs metabolism and disrupts one's hormone levels. A study led by scientists at the University of Chicago termed sleep deprivation "the royal route to obesity”.

With ongoing sleep loss, the insulin sensitivity of body reduces. The blood sugar released in the body after you eat is not well regulated. At the same time, your body secretes more cortisol (stress hormone), which makes it harder for insulin to do its work effectively. The net effect: Excess glucose stays in the bloodstream which not only leads to weight gain, but also increases the risk of developing diabetes.

Hunger regulating hormones are affected by sleep deprivation as well. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates appetite, while Leptin decreases it. Leptin is the hormone that essentially signals the brain that you have eaten enough. When the body is sleep-deprived, the level of Ghrelin spikes, while the level of Leptin falls, leading to an increase in hunger. Due to Leptin insensitivity, you are also not able to perceive fullness or satiety and hence, tend to overeat.

Apart from the fact that lack of sleep throws the hormones out of balance, it also kicks off a process in the body that raises the blood level of a lipid known as ‘Endocannabinoid’. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is involved in a variety of physiological and metabolic processes like that of insulin sensitivity, energy storage, appetite and more. It specifically increases hunger for junk foods, such as chocolates, candy, and chips. In fact, people who don’t get enough sleep eat almost twice as much the next day, compared with those who sleep well.

When Lord Krishna explained Arjun the importance of sleep, he reinforced that a balanced sleep is essential so that yoga practice can mitigate all pain and suffering. Fascinating new research on exercise science is on the same page as this ancient age old wisdom. This is how it explains:

For years and years, your health expert, trainer and doctor have mostly been telling you to eat right and exercise consistently. New diets, new fads and new exercise routines keep making new headlines on health and fitness tabloids and you have probably cut down food intake and making more rounds to the gym than ever before.

Despite all this, losing those extra kilos look far-fetched, while you seem to be losing out on energy and enthusiasm. What is really missing?

The third piece of the puzzle: Sleep
The latest diet, your favourite actor’s training routine or the new supplement in market, all of these may fail to give “results” if sleep, that is possibly the most
important of all is not prioritized. Without adequate sleep, your time in the gym could be to a large extent, unproductive and wasted.

The best exercise schedule, diet plan will not compensate for inadequate rest,and sleep is the best way of getting this rest. Without sufficient rest, your body will fail to adapt to the exercise stimuli.

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