Not Enough Zzz's? Poor Sleep Can Affect Your Weight Loss Goals

Losing weight can feel like a constant battle. Whether you have spent most of your life yoyo dieting or simply never manage to reach the weight loss goals you set for yourself, it's normal to start questioning why the pounds are not coming off. When you implement diet changes but don't see the results of your hard work, it can be easy to give up or feel like you are the problem.

On top of that, societal beauty standards can be quite triggering for those who have struggled with body positivity due to their weight. There also seems to be this preconceived idea that weight loss is as simple as calories in, calories out. However, there can actually be many other underlying health conditions or lifestyle factors that prevent the number on the scale from going down.

According to Rupa Health, your thyroid is what regulates your metabolism and if it's abnormally slow, hypothyroidism may be the reason for weight loss struggles. Similarly, hormone imbalances in your body can also cause unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight, especially if you are diagnosed with the hormonal disorder polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). While these are more serious conditions that likely require medical intervention, lifestyle habits like stress and sleep can also play a huge role in your weight loss journey.

Your body needs sleep to function

When you are in high school or college, it can seem normal to casually mention the three hours of sleep you got the night before. Running off of coffee or energy drinks is common in those younger years. However, it can be particularly difficult when you need to figure out how to get through the workday when you're running on little sleep. Plus, as you get older, sleep becomes a major factor in your overall health and wellness.

According to the National Library of Medicine, consistent sleep deprivation can actually change your "appetite-regulating hormones," making it harder to follow your own diet plan. On top of that, feeling exhausted on a daily basis can make it much harder to find the motivation to accomplish challenging goals. WebMD explains that a tired brain lacks willpower and will often succumb to impulsive ideas like skipping the gym, ordering takeout, or even senselessly snacking because your mind and body are just so fatigued.

Diet and exercise play a huge role in any weight loss journey, but it also takes discipline and mental strength. Just like it's important to consume all the vital nutrients that your body needs for optimal health, sleep is what your brain needs in order to be strong and healthy.

Try to remove the stress from your life

Beyond the mental block that a tired brain can cause, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your metabolism as well because it disrupts the way insulin is used in your body. Stress is also a major hindrance to weight loss because it spikes your cortisol levels, and this "stress hormone" actually signals your brain to hold onto fat and conserve energy.

According to Everyday Health, living with constant stressors has actually been linked to weight gain because of the way it affects your metabolism. Interestingly, stress has also been linked to sleep trouble because it can make it harder to fall asleep and more difficult to sleep deeply throughout the night. Therefore, it's really helpful to learn how to shed stressors before bed for a better night's sleep.

Since stress and sleep deprivation both independently impair your weight loss efforts, it's important to analyze all aspects of your lifestyle when determining the best way to meet your goals. There could be a number of reasons why the scale isn't going down when it seems like it should be. Since sleep is such an important indicator of your overall health, prioritizing those restful nights will make a huge difference.