A good rest has always been called beauty sleep – but how about a lean body sleep? Sufficient rest and recuperation effectively reduces our stress hormone, cortisol. When we are sleep-deprived, cortisol levels rise. This omnipotent hormone controls our appetite, often making us feel hungry even when we have eaten enough. It also raises blood sugar and insulin levels and results in increased fat deposition around the abdomen. To further complicate the situation, high cortisol can negatively affect our sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep when we finally do go to bed. This increase in stress hormones also has detrimental effects on other aspects of our endocrine system, like thyroid gland function which governs our metabolism – and in turn, our body composition.
Deep sleep is accompanied by an increased secretion of growth hormone necessary for repairing and rebuilding body tissues like muscle and bone. This anti-aging hormone also helps to negate the negative effects of cortisol. Growth hormone naturally decreases with age and also with increased abdominal fat, leading to a vicious cycle of fatigue, excess stress hormone and belly fat. By applying the tips below you will not only improve your sleep, you will slim your waistline.