Almost definitely. We pay a lot of attention to weight training/nutrition and they are of the utmost importance in the search for your inner Adonis. One vital but almost forgotten factor in shifting that spare tyre and to reveal your abs, is sleep. Sleep plays a pivotal role in fat loss; studies have shown that less sleep leads to less fat loss. In one particular study it was shown that when calorie intake was matched between people that slept for just under 5.5 hours, in comparison to those having 7.5 hours sleep, the same amount of weight was lost.
However the amount of that weight which was adipose tissue (fat) was significantly less then the group who had 7.5 hours sleep. The group with less sleep lost a lot more muscle to make up that weight loss. This is a double edged sword, not only will less muscle not make you look any sexier, a decrease in muscle mass also means a slower metabolism.
Less sleep also messes with your hormones. It increases your stress hormones and the hormones responsible for appetite such as cortisol, leptin and ghrelin making you hungrier. And as you’re awake for longer, you’re hunger is there for a longer period of time, leading to a higher chance of midnight snacking and an overall higher calorie intake than recommended. Consequently, less sleep puts your body under more stress making it harder for your body to recover and train at the same intensity.
The more you look into it the more you can start to see just how important sleep actually is and how it can be hindering your goals. But how many hours should you sleep? It’s near impossible to give an exact numbers of hours, but the national sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours for a regular adult and slightly less for if you are over 65. But the best thing you can do it to judge how you feel.
Do you need coffee or any caffeine drinks to get you through the day? Are you craving high calorie foods or feeling depressed or sluggish? These are all signs that you are not sleeping enough. Try to get to sleep 8 hours before you need to wake up, set your alarm half an hour later as a back up and see if you can wake up naturally, this is a great method to find out how much sleep your body needs. So relax have a bath and get an early night and let the sand man bring you them gains!