Sleep and Weight Loss

Exercise and a healthy diet is often what one thinks about when trying to lose weight, but have you ever considered sleep an important part of your weight loss regime?  In fact, research has shown that sleep is an important part of weight management.  It was found that those who get enough sleep had a lower BMI than those who did not, suggesting that sleep deprivation can cause one to gain weight. 

Sleep plays an important part in regulating several hormones in your body.  Two important hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, play a key role in stimulating and suppressing your appetite.  Leptin is responsible for suppressing hunger, while Ghrelin increases appetite.  Lack of sleep has been found to decrease the Leptin level, while increasing the Ghrelin levels, causing an increased appetite during the day. 

Sleep also helps to lower cortisol levels or the “stress hormone.”  When you have high levels of cortisol, it triggers the fight-or-flight response, which shuts down the bodies normal functions and activates the fat storage that releases sugar for energy.  That increase of sugar then triggers the cravings for foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. 

The next time you find yourself waking up from a sleepless night, pay attention to your eating habits and cravings.  When you wake up tired you will more likely want to go for the coffee, then a donut or sugary or high carb food.  You are less likely to have the energy to exercise when you are tired or sleep deprived.  As you continue on your weight loss journey, try including healthy sleeping habits into your daily routine.

Here are some helpful tips getting more sleep each night.

·      Go to bed the same time every night

·      Drink chamomile tea in the evening

·      Avoid late night eating

·      Refrain from exercise late at night

·      Limit alcohol and caffeine intake

·      Refrain from watching TV in bed

·      Turn off all electronics

·      Try reading a book before bed.

·      Take a warm bath in the evening

·      Write down a to-do list at night to help keep your mind clear of all that you need to do the next day.