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Sleep and Weight Loss

Most people usually don’t connect sleep and weight. Why would they right? But the truth is your sleep directly impacts your weight as much as the food and quality you eat in the battle against the bulge.

What’s The Connection Between Sleep and Weight?

Over the past few years, the amount of time Americans sleep at night has been steadily declining. The influx of information and fear of missing out has led Americans to carve into their sleep time for sake of pursing more. Whether it’s more knowledge, more entertainment, more wealth, that we are seeking it’s impacting our overall health and waistlines. As sleep has decreased there has also been an increasing trend toward increase body mass and rates of obesity.

The trend has led researches to hypothesize the connection between sleep and weight. Some studies show that poor sleep quality and reduced sleep can lead to metabolic conditions, weight gain, hormonal imbalance, increase risk of obesity in addition to many chronic health conditions.

Can Lack of Sleep Increase Appetite?

When you hear and feel your stomach grumbling, we often link it to our appetite. However, our appetite is regulated by neurotransmitters. These are chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another.

Ghrelin and leptin are two of the star players in controlling appetite. Ghrelin tells you “I’m hungry” while Leptin tells you “I’m full.” They are regulated throughout the day.

Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can increase ghrelin and decrease leptin. There was a study comparing two groups of men that slept 4 hours versus 10 hours, that found that the men who were sleep deprived had a dysregulation of ghrelin and leptin, which led to increased appetite and less feelings of fullness.

How Sleep Impacts Metabolism

Sleep deprivation can lead to metabolic dysfunction. Whether lack of sleep is self-induced, sleep apnea, insomnia or other sleep disorders. Poor sleep quality and quantity has been linked to glucose intolerance (more sugar cravings), increased oxidative stress (premature aging and inflammatory conditions) and insulin resistance (pre-diabetic). The more time you are awake the more opportunities you have to eat. Sleeping less can also derail normal circadian rhythms and lead to weight gain.

Sleep Strategies to Enhance Weight Loss

Research studies have shown that losing sleep while dieting can greatly impact the amount of weight loss and promote overeating. These strategies can help:

Sleep schedule: Keep a sleep schedule and stick to it. It’s difficult to “catch up” on your sleep.

Late nights and sleep deprivation reduces insulin sensitivity therefore making it difficult to keep stable blood sugar levels and opting for sugar foods and high carb foods.

Early bird sleeper: Have you noticed that when you stay up late, you are more likely to snack at night when your will power is at its lowest?

Dark room: Artificial light exposure from a lamp, television, computer or other electronic gadget has been linked to weight gain and obesity. Sleep in a dark room without distractions

Eat earlier: Not only does late night eating but late eating can impact the success of weight loss. A 2-3 hour buffer window may be ideal.

Minimize stress: Chronic stress, which has been common in the world we live in, can lead to poor sleep and weight gain. Stress comes in many forms which usually triggers emotional eating.


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