Sleep your way to weight loss
Sleep is integral to weight loss; a chronic sleep debt is a giant eraser scrubbing away at all those healthy choices you’re making with your diet.
When you lack quality sleep, especially when your sleep duration is shortened, your appetite regulation hormones leptin and ghrelin go out of control. Studies indicate that ghrelin levels are significantly elevated when we are sleep-deprived and leptin levels are decreased. So what are ghrelin and leptin, I hear you say? Ghrelin and leptin are known as our hunger hormones.
Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite; it is released primarily in the stomach and it signals hunger to the brain. Leptin, on the other hand, tells the brain that we have enough fat, so we can eat less or stop eating. When you do not sleep enough, you end up with too much ghrelin and less leptin in your system, so the body thinks it's hungry and it needs more calories. To top it off, the body stops burning those calories because it thinks that there is a shortage. You must have had those nights where you stay up late for some reason and the next day, you are starving and no matter what you eat, you just can’t cure your appetite. That is a consequence of the elevated ghrelin.
Sleep deprivation has also been found to increase levels of stress hormones and resistance to insulin, both of which also contribute to weight gain. Being insulin-resistant means we store our carbohydrates more efficiently to fat and also it makes us over hungry and when we are over hungry, what are the foods we typically reach for? Anything that will give us a glucose hit! You can see why it’s really important to get those eight hours of quality sleep a night.
Top tips for getting more sleep
- Go to bed earlier.
- Develop a regular sleep schedule.
- Limit or eliminate caffeine within six hours of sleep.
- Reduce your exposure to artificial light.
- Don’t go to bed too full – or too hungry.
- Create the perfect sleep environment.
So go try sleeping like you get paid for it!
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