Sleep – the role of rest in the weight loss process

In this article we will discuss sleep, and we will discover the role of sleep and rest in the process of weight loss and in maintaining long-term health. Currently, approximately 30% of the world’s population

In this article we will discuss sleep, and we will discover the role of sleep and rest in the process of weight loss and in maintaining long-term health.

Currently, approximately 30% of the world’s population is overweight or obese. At the country level, the statistics look even worse, about 60% of Romania’s population is overweight or obese. All this is the result of a chaotic lifestyle, in which sedentary lifestyle and overeating predominate. If before eating was a necessity, a functional priority, with a strict role in survival, in modern times food means pleasure, taste, cost and convenience.

Even though times have changed, the needs of the body have remained the same. Therefore, it is necessary to implement a balanced lifestyle based on physical exercise, rest, hydration and a balanced diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates (25g fiber), 30% protein and 30% fat (mainly OMEGA-3 and as little as possible). unhealthy fats).

Both rest and activity have a special role for the normal functioning of the body’s apparatus and systems.

For the recovery of work capacity it is indicated:

  • rational rest: has the role of preventing the accumulation of fatigue and also contributes to increasing efficiency. Thus, the rest period from the middle of the day, as well as short breaks are perfect ways to restore work capacity.
  • active rest: research conducted by some physiologists has led to the somewhat paradoxical conclusion that not inactivity (slowing down any effort) is the most effective rest, but changing the activity with another activity. The condition is that this interspersed activity is easier and more fun, as it must rest the functions performed during the main activity.
  • relaxation: emphasizes the focus on the muscles, the disconnection of which will get you through progressive exercises. At first, relaxation methods were used to treat neuropsychiatric diseases, but gradually, they were increasingly used as a means of mental and physical disconnection. It was found that the active rest mentioned above is much more effective after a period of relaxation.


For several hundred years, it was believed that sleep is simply a passive state, in which the body and mind rest. Aristotle believed that sleep was an unimportant period, marked by the absence of ordinary sensory perceptions. Most of the time, it was believed that sleep is a simple state in which we can dream.

But sleep is as necessary as water and food, and every living thing needs sleep to survive. Restful and sufficient sleep has the role of protecting mental and physical health, thus increasing the quality of life.

The activities we do during the day, our effectiveness, largely depend on what happens during sleep, when our body works to support the healthy functioning of the brain and to maintain physical health. For children and adolescents, sleep supports and supports the growth process.

Sleep deficit

If it happens occasionally, a lost night will not affect health, but fatigue, irritability and lack of attention are common in a sleepless night.

Adverse effects begin to appear after several sleepless nights, and it will become difficult for the brain to concentrate and make decisions. During this period, the risk of injury increases, whether we are talking about housework, work or driving. A person deprived of sleep will become apathetic, and he may fall asleep suddenly during the day.

If sleep deprivation is prolonged, then we may face the appearance of serious health conditions, such as:

  • obesity;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • stroke;
  • hypertension;
  • diabetes;
  • depression.

Effects of sleep deficit:

  • cognitive functions: poor memory, difficulty concentrating, learning or problem solving;
  • immune system: increased risk of disease and prolonged healing time;
  • appetite and metabolism: appetite increases while metabolism slows down. Increases the risk of obesity and diabetes;
  • skin: accelerates the effects of aging;
  • mood: increased risk of nerve disease, anxiety and depression;
  • heart: high risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack;
  • cancer risk: associated with an increased risk of cancer of the breast, prostate and colon.

Insufficient sleep (and we are talking here about sleeping less than 7 hours a night) can reduce the effects of a balanced diet, increasing appetite and affecting the body’s energy level, necessary for physical exertion.

After only 4 days of poor sleep, the body’s ability to use insulin (the hormone that regulates fat cell activity) decreases significantly. When insulin works properly, fat cells take up fatty acids and lipids from the bloodstream, preventing their deposition in tissues. If this process no longer takes place under normal conditions, fats continue to circulate in the blood, stimulating insulin production. Excess secreted hormone ends up storing fat where it shouldn’t (for example in liver tissue). This is how fattening and the increased risk of developing diabetes and other diseases favored by overweight appear.

Night shift

A 2017 study by the National Institute of Statistics shows that more than half of Romanians work in the evening, at night or on weekends. Night shifts can cause serious health problems. A study in Canada found that very important genes in the body are blocked and the impact on the body is long-term. Such changes can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart problems.

Night change and the negative effects on our health:

  • disruption of the circadian rhythm;
  • altering the eating style;
  • reduced glucose tolerance;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • risk of obesity.

Tips for night shift workers:

  • it is recommended to eat the main meal before going to work;
  • eat healthy snacks (fruits, vegetables, low protein) and salads during the night shift;
  • stay hydrated with water;
  • limit caffeine and avoid it 4-6 hours before the planned sleep;
  • avoid sugars and products that are high in fat.


When and how much should we sleep?

Sleep occurs in daytime (day-night) cycles, especially in adults. This cyclicity is controlled by the so-called “circadian rhythm” (cycle of ~ 24 hours of biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes belonging to living entities, including plants, animals, fungi, etc.), in humans, this cycle is guaranteed within a set specific to brain cells.

Functions associated with the Circadian Rhythm:

  • several brain functions;
  • hormonal rhythms;
  • central body temperature;
  • melatonin secretion;
  • cortisol secretion.


Sleep itself, in addition to the Circadian Rhythm, is a cyclically structured phenomenon. The quality and quantity of sleep are essential factors both in terms of body recovery, health and emotional and cognitive efficiency.

Stages of sleep:

  1. STAGE 1: the boundary between consciousness and sleep;
  2. STAGE 2: pulse and brain activity slow down;
  3. STEP 3: the body is repaired;
  4. STAGE 4: body temperature and blood pressure decrease;
  5. STAGE 5: REM – eye movement, blood pressure, heart rate and temperature increase.

How to improve our Circadian Rhythm

It is ideal to maintain a daily schedule, more or less strict, as follows:

  • 8 hours – sleep, food and nutrition, hydration;
  • 8 hours – job;
  • 8 hours – quality time with family, personal development, exercise, time for you.


  • FIBERS – helps deep sleep (Deep Sleep);
  • FATS – excessive consumption of fats;
  • CARBOHYDRATES – high carbohydrate intake in the evening leads to frequent awakenings during the night;
  • PROTEINS – eating enough protein helps us get a good night’s sleep;
  • COFFEE – affects deep sleep. Caffeine is halved in 5 to 6 hours in the human body. Consume a maximum of 400 mg / day;
  • ALCOHOL – affects REM sleep and deep sleep. The half-life of alcohol in the human body is 3 hours.
  • ROOM TEMPERATURE – for a good night’s sleep, the room temperature should be relatively low (19 – 20 ° C).
  • COLD SHOWER – in the morning – invigorates us, in the evening puts us to sleep.

The benefits of sleep in weight loss

Proper sleep brings multiple benefits in the process of weight loss and maintaining a balanced weight, including:

  • reduces the predisposition to eating at night;
  • accelerates the metabolic rate;
  • facilitates the process of burning fat;
  • helps make the right dietary decisions;
  • encourages portion control;
  • regulates appetite;
  • improves self-control.

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