How To Lose Stubborn Postpartum Weight With More Sleep

Mother standing sideward looking in the mirror at excess belly fat postpartum

What’s the best way to lose postpartum weight naturally?

If diets really did work then why do some people gain the weight back after completing a successful diet?

Are there other factors involved in weight loss other than just diet and lifestyle?

What do science and research have to say?

How to lose stubborn postpartum weight with more sleep

Most people today are sleep-deprived. Since our Modern world doesn’t see the importance of sleep, most people don’t even know that they are sleep deprived.

On the flip side, sleep is making a return in society as a crucial factor in living a healthy lifestyle.

Since the dawn of industrialization, increased wealth, and globalization, we became people who never sleep.

Thanks to electricity, we have social gatherings, can go shopping and even travel across the world during the time when we should be asleep.

The light bulb made it possible for us to lose the natural sleep-wake cycle that was designed into our bodies and stay up into the early hours of the morning without giving it any thought.

The effect?

Lower moods, poor mental health, higher incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, and of course obesity.

Lack of sleep is not the only contributing factor to these issues but plays a significant role.

Here’s how:

How sleep naturally affects weight loss

Lack of sleep can impact the brain in different ways. One of the ways is that it subdues the frontal lobe of the brain, the part that makes decisions.

When we are too tired, the brain switches to its reward centers and looks for instant gratification.

So for example, a person looking for a late-night snack would choose a piece of cake over an apple.

Even more interesting, is that lack of sleep affects the brain in a way that determines how a person thinks about food. A study found that lack of sleep puts a person at greater risk of overeating because of the shift in thinking towards food.

Food becomes a positive reward instead of a source of nourishment.

Is sleep a simple way to lose postpartum weight naturally?

Sleep is nutrition for the brain. During sleep, new cells are made for reparation as well as the removal of toxins that build up during the day.

The recommended amount of time for adults is between 7 and 9 hours every day.

Research shows that lack of sleep causes a spike in cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

The result?

Energy is conserved instead of spent. This prevents weight loss.

With more sleep, there isn’t a need for more exercise. Living a healthy and active lifestyle would be enough to start to lose postpartum weight naturally.

In this study, researchers found that the lack of sleep minimized the body’s ability to lose fat and instead caused the body to retain it. This was especially true with people who were trying to diet and lose weight.

How reduced sleep slows your metabolism

In a graduate study from the University of Washington, participants were studied on whether a lack of sleep would cause them to gain weight.

What they found was very interesting.

After the participants had spent time at home sleeping and resting they were admitted into a sleep lab where they were allowed no more than 5 hours of sleep per night for 10 nights.

They were fed a high-calorie, high-fat meal and were examined. Researchers found that during the time they were sleep-deprived they felt less full after such a dense and heavy meal.

Blood samples also showed faster digestion of fats in the meal showing that the fat was quickly stored as excess weight.

Studies like this are a good indication that sleep is essential to having a fast metabolism.

How do hormones affect weight gain?

Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that are responsible for the balance of energy.

Leptin regulates energy and suppresses food intake which results in weight loss.

Ghrelin is a hormone that plays part in meal initiation. It is released by the stomach and signals to the brain that it’s time to eat.

Sleep regulates the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is suppressed when you don’t get enough sleep which means you will eat and not feel full. This results in weight gain and slow metabolism.

This is why, as we saw in the study above, the participants during the 5 hour sleep days, didn’t feel full even after a heavy and high-calorie meal and their blood samples showed that lipids in the meals they ate were quickly stored in their bodies as fat.

How to lose postpartum weight naturally

1. Diet

Opt for a diet with more focus on fermented foods, healthy fats, grass-fed farm-raised protein, dark green vegetables, and low-sugar fruits.

Keep most of the carbs for the day at the beginning of the day so that you have the energy to burn them off during the day.

Fruit doesn’t have to be bad, in fact, it can help with weight loss. High antioxidant fruit like pomegranate, berries, and cantaloupe. A study from The Journal Of Agricultural and Food Chemistry¬†found that antioxidants stop triglycerides from forming in mice.

Healthy fats like avocados have also been shown to be effective at promoting weight loss. One study found that avocados reduced abdominal fat and the way it was dispersed in women.

2. Exercise

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every other day.  The ACOG recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week for postpartum women.

This doesn’t mean having to go to the gym or join an exercise class. Just getting out in the fresh air and walking every day is a really good start. Exercise can be woven into normal daily life just by making conscious choices to walk more. For example, instead of driving to the supermarket, park further away and walk.

3. Sleep

This can be difficult to accomplish especially during the newborn and possibly even well into your baby’s first year. As soon as you and your baby find a routine, plan to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day.

A bedtime routine can be really helpful such as reading time, dim lighting, a bath, and herbal tea. Make sure the room you sleep in is cool and can be made completely dark.

Conclusion

Sleep may be the missing factor in effective weight loss. Research shows that sleep plays a vital role in having a healthy metabolism and even influences a healthy relationship with food in the way we think about it.

During sleep deprivation, the brain goes to a place of reward which predisposes unhealthy food choices. More importantly, sleep deprivation causes weight retention and minimizes any intention of weight loss.

Postpartum weight loss can be easily achieved by being mindful of diet, exercise, and most importantly, sleep.

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