Diet and exercise have their place, but one secret weapon in your weight-loss arsenal takes a lot less effort: getting enough sleep.

Here’s how catching those Zzzs helps shrink your waistline:

Eating Less

Sleep plays a big role in affecting the level of hunger-regulating hormones in your body called leptin. This hormone helps your body realize when it is full and signals you to stop eating. Sleep also helps lower levels of ghrelin that increases your appetite.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body does the total opposite of what it should with these hormones –  which causes you to overeat.

Save yourself up to 300 calories by getting your full eight hours of sleep! Your waistline will thank you.

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Rid yourself of belly fat

Now here is a reason that I can get behind. Anxiety and stress are two major contributors to belly fat. That is because your body goes into survival mode when you are stressed out and starts releasing cortisol.

Cortisol stops weight loss as a defence mechanism while you’re stressing out, but when you get enough sleep you beat the bulge.

This being said, sleep is no substitute for professional help if you are finding yourself overwhelmed by life. Make sure that you see a medical professional if you feel that you need to in order to cope.

A recent study found that women who slept seven to nine hours a night weighed less than those who were sleep-deprived

It may suppress fat genes

A recent study found that women who slept seven to nine hours a night weighed less than those who were sleep-deprived; researchers believe that those who sleep fewer than seven hours a night (or, interestingly, more than nine) were more affected by any genetic predispositions to be overweight or obese.

Sleep gives you energy

When you’ve had a good night’s rest, you are more likely to have the energy to tackle your workout for the day. Actually, you can tackle your entire day with more gusto, because you are refreshed.

Plus, since exercise helps you sleep, revamping your sleeping habits can be the start of a beneficial cycle.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.