Circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that governs your sleep-wake cycle and impacts a number of other essential biological functions, including body temperature, digestion, and hormone levels.
Emerging research indicates that it may also affect metabolism, and as a result, weight loss.
Join us as we take a deeper look at the link between circadian rhythm, sleep habits, and weight loss.
Night Owls & Weight Gain
We’ve said it time and time again that getting enough sleep each night is essential to losing weight and maintaining/achieving a healthy body composition.
Not getting enough sleep is known to:
- Reduce feelings of satiety
- Increase feelings of hunger
- Decrease insulin sensitivity
- Reduce motivation to exercise
- Decrease locomotion (movement) during the day
- Reduce energy expenditure
- Increase cravings & desire to snack
- Increase protein breakdown
- Reduce muscle recovery & growth
To top it off, not getting enough sleep is also known to negatively impact hormone levels and promote fat storage!
A recent 2020 study found that individuals who classified themselves as “morning people” got more exercise during the day than night owls, which means the people who went to bed earlier and woke up earlier typically burned more calories on account of moving more during the day. This would support weight loss.
And, it’s known that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with being overweight or obese.
Other research indicates that night owls tend to consume less nutrient-dense food (fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, etc.) than their early bird counterparts.
In fact, researchers state that “evening type people have less favorable eating habits, which may put them at a higher risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.”
Moreover, the same group of researchers also observed that night owls typically ate less protein overall and ate more sugar in the morning. In the evening, night owls also tended to eat more sucrose, total fat and saturated fat. On weekends, the differences in the nutritional habits of morning birds and night owls was even greater, with night owls eating more irregularly and eating about twice as much compared to morning birds. Lastly, night owls also got less sleep and were less physically active overall.
Basically, by staying up late and not getting enough sleep you’re stacking the deck against your weight loss hopes.
Now, keep in mind, early birds that don’t get enough sleep will also be predisposed to weight gain based on the reasons we touched on above.
So, just because you happen to be an early bird doesn’t give you an excuse to skimp on sleep. Night owl or morning bird, you need your sleep!
Can I Change from Night Owl to Early Bird?
Unfortunately, swapping from a night owl to a morning bird isn’t all that easy. There is a genetic component to our circadian rhythm, meaning that some people are just “hard-wired” to be night owls. They’re naturally more alert at night and their bodies may release melatonin (the hormone that governs the sleep-wake cycle) later compared to early birds.
So, does this mean it’s nigh-impossible for a night owl to lose weight?
Not at all!
By instituting some simple daily habits, you can be a night owl and still get amazing results during your transformation challenge.
#1 Track Your Nutrition
Regardless if you’re a night owl or an early bird, calories are king when it comes to weight loss.
If you want to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, wherein you consume fewer calories than you burn each day.
The easiest way to know whether or not you actually are in a deficit is to track your nutrition -- what foods you eat and how much of those foods you are eating each day.
There are several options for tracking your nutrition, some better than others and some are free (while others are not).
Given the importance that calorie counting/macro tracking has in achieving the results you want led us to develop the brand-new 1UP Fitness App!
The 1UP Fitness is an all-in-one fitness and nutrition tracking app designed to help you reach and maintain your fitness goals.
In the app, you’ll be able to track daily calories and macros based on your own information and fitness goals. You’ll also receive food suggestion outlines detailing exactly how many grams of each food you should eat in order to stay on track with calories & macros.
Also included are gym & home weight training programs customized based on your experience level and sex as well as how-to-guides and exercise videos.
#2 Stay Active
Research has consistently show that individuals who are most successful in losing weight and keeping it off, share a few common traits:
- They weigh themselves regularly
- They track their nutrition
- They maintain high levels of physical activity
Part of the reason that early birds tend to have lower body weights than night owls is that they’re generally more active during the day.
Physical activity in all its forms counts, from something as simple as walking the dog or parking at the back of the parking lot to hitting a grueling interval training session or resistance-training bout.
Just like your early bird counterparts, you probably like to have a pre workout supplement before your gym sessions. However, be it that you’re training late at night, you’ll likely want to avoid having caffeine in your pre workout as this can further disrupt sleep.
Fortunately, we’ve created a premium, all-in-one pre workout supplement that delivers energy, focus, performance, pumps and amazing flavor with NO caffeine or stimulants whatsoever.
1UP Stim-Free contains efficaciously dosed ingredients that are backed by research to help you crush your workouts and get results no matter if you're training day or night!
#3 Get Enough Sleep
We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it over and over again -- you need sleep...not only to accomplish your weight loss goals, but (more importantly) for general health!
As we discussed above, sleep deprivation derails your weight loss efforts in a number of ways
If you need help getting more sleep each night, consider some of these tips to improve sleep quality:
- Set a bedtime and stick to it (even on weekends)
- Avoid blue light 2 hours before bed (TVs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.)
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed (if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, don’t have any past 3PM)
- Keep your room cool and dark
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes to sleep
- Meditate/Pray/Journal before bed
- Stretch or perform light yoga
- Have a cup of herbal tea
- Listen to relaxing music
It may also be helpful to use a nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, such as 1UP Beauty Dream PM or Recharge PM. Our men’s and women’s sleep aids are formulated using natural, non-habit forming ingredients to help promote feelings of calm, relaxation allowing you to achieve the deep, restorative sleep you need to lose weight withougroggy or hungover in the morning
- Nauha, L, Jurvelin, H, Ala‐Mursula, L, et al. Chronotypes and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time at midlife. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2020; 30: 1930– 1938. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13753
- Mirkka Maukonen, Noora Kanerva, Timo Partonen, Erkki Kronholm, Heli Tapanainen, Jukka Kontto, Satu Männistö. Chronotype differences in timing of energy and macronutrient intakes: A population-based study in adults. Obesity, 2017; 25 (3): 608 DOI: 10.1002/oby.21747t leaving you feeling