How does stress and lack of sleep affect weight loss?

Fat loss is one of the most pursued goals by people, who increasingly go to a personal trainer in search of aesthetic and health improvement. According to the 2014 European Health Survey, 52.7% of the population over 18 years of age is above the weight considered.

Aiming towards the goal we want to achieve and guided by qualified personnel, it seems that more and more people are becoming aware of the fundamental pillars that must be followed to make this fat loss efficient and sustainable: training + nutrition. Training programs or eating plans separately do not seem to be as effective as when they are combined and go hand in hand. Resurge Review

We cannot forget a third pillar, basic, and as important as the other two: rest. And it is that vertex on which we will give some brushstroke in the form of advice so that your fat loss program is more complete. Although it seems the simplest vertex a priori, it is a part that can become infinitely complex, since it overlaps with physical, metabolic and psychological aspects. We will relate it to stress (cortisol), and with the importance it can have for metabolism. For example, a break translated into a few hours of sleep is related to high cortisol levels, which can be mechanisms responsible for metabolic disorders, such as high fat levels. So pay attention, because don't forget that small details can make big differences.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone ", and as the nickname itself indicates, the body releases it in situations of stress, alarm. The body is not able to use the glucose reserves in an adequate way, which generates more glucose reserves with the risk that they can be stored as fat reserves. In addition, it produces other metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance or a decrease in leptin levels (increased feeling of hunger) that will not help us in our fat loss process.

Generally, the lowest levels of cortisol usually occur around midnight, and begin to rise 2-3 hours after sleep onset. The highest cortisol concentrations are reached near the time of rising 8:00 - 9:00 am After this peak, it usually decreases gradually throughout the day, although this will also be a consequence of the individual lifestyle and rhythm each person's staff.

What is the relationship between sleep, stress, cortisol, and metabolism?

Numerous studies indicate that disturbances in the sleep cycle or disorders such as insomnia negatively impact stress, raising cortisol levels. Thus our metabolic processes are negatively affected, and consequently fat loss becomes more difficult. And not only that. Lack of sleep seems to be directly related to elevation of cortisol, and seems to have a close relationship with obesity and type II diabetes. Even narcolepsy is considered a sleep disorder closely associated with obesity, accumulation of abdominal fat, or a pattern of compulsive eating.

Considering the organism as a whole, the metabolism also influences the quality of sleep. And for example, the increase in food intake is proven to promote sleep (think of the sensation of sleep perceived after a very large meal). Remember that for fat loss you must control the amounts, so to sleep well, the solution is not to eat out of kilter. Let's not forget that in order for the body to use adipose tissue as fuel, it is necessary to subject the body to a caloric deficit, that is, to consume fewer calories than I spend with my daily activity. This deficit forces us to control the amounts we eat.

There are other clinical studies that also reveal that a consumption of food, especially tasty foods, during periods of psychological stress, decrease these stress levels. Additionally, increased appetizing food intake is associated with reward-based eating, as a way to reduce the stress response. However, looking for the solution to sleep or stress problems in «junk food» binge eating is not exactly the solution considering our main objective. In fact, these caloric restrictions necessary for changing body composition normally lead to increased cortisol levels. But if we know how the body works, we can fight these levels more wisely and intelligently.


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