If you’re someone who’s always struggled when it comes to shedding pounds, staying up late and not getting enough rest could prove to be your biggest enemy. Sleep is one of your greatest allies in the fight to lose weight, and not just for the obvious reasons. When your body is well rested, your natural metabolism has an easier job to do when it comes to digesting and re-using food for energy. Sleeping the full-suggested eight hours a night is also a great way to burn off fat naturally. Here are a few reasons why getting that extra bit of shut-eye could be vital to reaching your goal weight.

Sleep Reduces Cravings (and Snacking)

Staying up late is a double-edged sword when it comes to how we use our bodies’ natural energy reserves. We may feel the pressure to stay up late, which leads to our desire to eat in order to boost energy, which leads to a late-in-the-night boost that can make it even harder for us to fall asleep and get the required eight hours. When you’re staying up late, you’re more likely to start snacking to keep your energy up. And when it comes to late-night eating, usually we’re not reaching for the healthiest options on the menu.

Sleep Helps with Overall Focus

When you’re getting enough sleep at night, you’re more likely to stick to your resolve in the morning. Whether that means motivating yourself to head to the gym after work, passing on an unhealthy snack in favor of a balanced meal, or simply sticking to portion control, getting the sleep you need will leave you with a focused, sharp brain that’s less lazy to slack on dieting.

It Helps You Feel Full

When your body feels rested, it’s less likely to start sending you confusing signals. Sometimes the way your body tries to tell you its tired mimics actual hunger pangs, even when you’re not really hungry. When you’re getting the proper amount of sleep, you’re far less likely to get these signals crossed and reach for food you’re not actually hungry for.

It Helps Motivate You to Exercise

Quick: How likely are you to drag yourself to the gym after a long, exhausting day? Add to that the fact that you got less than seven hours of sleep to begin with, and your chances of being able to motivate yourself to exercise are even slimmer. A well-rested body benefits from natural energy that will leave you feeling refreshed throughout the day. Nothing feels worse than having to go to the gym on a day when you seriously don’t feel up to it. Getting a good night’s sleep prepares you for a full day ahead, and gives your body that extra bit of energy to go above and beyond.

Sleep Stimulates Metabolic Activity

When people say you can burn off calories in your sleep, they’re not lying. Technically, your body is burning calories at a very slow rate throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing. When you’re exercising, that rate becomes accelerated. When you’re sleeping, especially if you like to fall asleep in colder temperatures, your body is able to use your resting state to break down fat more vigorously than when you’re awake.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything to lose weight and are still struggling, the answer could be hiding in plain sight. Getting a great night’s sleep is an easy way to stick to your diet, encourage physical fitness, and keep yourself at a weight you’re comfortable with.

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