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By Gennifer Strobo, Certified Nutritionist, Bombshell Fitness

Count more sheep and you can count on a lower body fat.

Not seeing the changes you want in your body? It is possible that you aren’t getting enough sleep. You may think that staying awake longer and getting less sleep means that you are going to burn even more calories. Well that is partly true. You will burn a few more calories that day, however, how your body reacts to the lack of sleep the following days will reverse the effect of that small excess burn that you did get.

I know it just doesn’t seem right when you’re following the Bombshell Fitness food plan, kicking butt on your Bombshell cardio and getting in every Bombshell workout. But our bodies need sleep just as much as it needs the workouts and the cardio. Your health, wellbeing and metabolism depend on it.

Why sleep loss leads to weight gain

Mental alertness decreases

When you don’t get enough sleep your brain cannot function properly and your thoughts become unclear. This means you may be less likely to say no to the goodies in the office break room or the drive thru you’re passing. Making sure that you get enough sleep each night helps to keep you on track more effectively and your willpower at its highest.

Your body goes into stress mode

Less sleep puts your body into stress mode. We all know what happens when we stress. That’s right-those pesky cortisol levels begin to rise. When they go up so do our cravings for comfort foods. Lock up the pantry NOW if you aren’t sleeping enough.

Fat cells don’t know what to do

I found a study at the University of Chicago that proved when women got less than 5 hours of sleep for 4 or more nights their fat cells’ response to insulin went down by 30%. This lessens the ability of a fat cell to store and release energy. This means that your body will pretty much hold on to the calories instead of burning them. WHO WANTS THAT???

Sleep Increases Muscle Mass

Muscle cells burn more calories than a fat cell and lack of sleep can interfere with the body’s ability to make muscle. With less muscle your calories might end up being converted to fat instead of fueling that bicep. Research suggests that women need an average of 7 ½ hours of sleep each night. I know that some days it seems like we don’t even get close to that. Take a moment at the beginning of the week to look at your weekly schedule. Figure out the best way to manage your time to get the most sleep you can.

Source: Michael Breus, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is the coauthor of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep (Rodale)

For more information please visit www.bombshellfitness.com

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