The Sleep Council Trainers-296x300 Swap Food And Fitness Fads For Sleep  How often have you signed up to the gym only to go a handful times before never stepping foot over the threshold again? Yes.

Or splashed out on new fitness DVDs only for them to gather dust? Yes.

Or started yet another fad diet? Yes.

And according to a new survey we spend an awful lot of money doing it too – over £37,000 on health and fitness fads over a lifetime (that’s around £800 a year) to be precise.

But did you know that if you want to whittle your waistline then getting enough rest is just as important as regular exercise when it comes to shifting the pounds!

Medical evidence suggests that a good night’s sleep is essential if you want to melt away excess fat. This is because your hormones are affected by sleep patterns which, in turn, affect appetite and wellbeing.

A bad night’s sleep causes Leptin (a hormone produced by fat cell levels) to drop, which signals insufficient metabolic reserves and the need to eat more calories. It also increases the hormone Ghrelin (produced in the stomach) which triggers appetite. It is this imbalance in hormone levels that upsets your metabolism, leading to over-eating and steady weight gain.

When we’re tired we’re more likely to crave sugary snacks and stodgy carbohydrates to keep us going and because our energy levels are low, we’re less motivated to work out and burn off those calories.

So next time you feel the urge to buy some new running trainers or feel inspired to join the gym, take a look at your sleeping habits first. You may find that by changing your sleep patterns you’ll look and feel better without the need to break into a sweat!

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