Eating healthy foods, exercising on a regular basis, reducing stress levels, consuming alcohol in moderation, ditching cigarette smoking — all of these things can help you lose weight.

There is one more thing, however, that you should be doing on a nightly basis in order to make it easier for your excess body poundage to go away. According to experts, having enough of this each and every night can cause your journey to a slimmer you an easier venture. Here’s a clue: that thing starts with the letter “S”.

It’s SLEEP.

Everyone knows that lack of sleep can cause dark circles under the eyes, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability and a difficult time concentrating. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also lead to weight gain? Plus, if you are already overweight, not getting enough sleep at night can make it hard to shed off those unwanted pounds!

Actually, a Columbia University study revealed that participants who failed to enjoy 7 or more hours of Z’s per night were heavier than those who did get enough sleep nightly. Also, they gained lots and lots of added pounds eventually. To make matters worse, those sleep-deprived participants had trouble slimming down!

Getting enough sleep every night is one of your best defenses against gaining unwanted weight.

Here are the reasons why having the right amounts of shut-eye each time can be beneficial for a figure-conscious individual:

Your body can burn calories more efficiently.

It’s no secret that sleep deprivation can make you feel tired the following day, which is something that causes your body to use up way less calories than usual. On the other hand, a well-rested body makes a person’s resting energy expenditure higher.

Your hormone levels can be kept normal.

Did you know that lack of sleep is something that can cause hormonal imbalance? And one of the unfavorable effects of improperly balanced hormones is hunger. Naturally, hunger can cause you to reach for more foods than necessary, leading to weight gain.

Your mood can be prevented from swinging.

We are all aware that sleeplessness can wreak havoc to the mood. If you’re one of those people who turn to unhealthy foods whenever they are not in a good disposition, then it’s not unlikely for you to gain unwanted pounds if you regularly deprive yourself of some Z’s.

Your proper brain functioning can be kept intact.

Everybody is familiar with the fact that sleep deprivation can make it extra challenging to concentrate. When you are shopping for food and you are sleep deprived, there is always this possibility of you making the wrong choices or purchases.

Your energy can be maintained high.

Certainly, exercising on a regular basis is a very important weight loss component. It can be very easy for you to abandon your regular jogs, badminton sessions, or trips to the gym if you are not feeling energized as you were not able to enjoy enough sleep the night before.

Your stress levels can be kept to a minimum.

Especially if you are leading a very busy life, sleep deprivation is an utter no-no. One of the many, many unfavorable effects of lack of sleep is increased stress levels, and it’s a known fact that being stressed can make you feel hungry as a bear!

So you may already be itching to ask: how much shut-eye should you be getting each night just to make those unwanted pounds go away? According to experts, you should enjoy 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly to obtain the many benefits that spending enough time in dreamland brings — and that includes weight loss.

Make sure that you pair a good night’s sleep with a healthy lifestyle —proper diet, regular exercise, etc. — to make weight loss a less challenging endeavor.

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