Without doubt, lacking sleep can have a negative impact on your weight. Namely, sleeplessness makes it easier to reach for an extra caloric meal to compensate for the lack of energy and due to being too tired, one is more likely to skip workout.
Sure, this can happen to even the most accountable people from time to time; however, the problem occurs when one is chronically depriving themselves of sleep. This being said, getting a good night’s sleep is pivotal for the overall health and well-being, including weight management.
How Does Sleep Contribute to Weight Gain
According to studies, it appears that the saying ‘if you don’t snooze, you lose’ holds a lot of truth. Namely, lack of sleep increases the production of the hunger hormone known as ghrelin and lowers the hormone of satiety called leptin.
Consequently, the person is more likely to overeat and the chances for weight gain increase.
Moreover, in order to compensate for the lack of energy, you will reach for unhealthier foods more than you would if you got a good slumber. What’s more, according to a study, those who did not get the needed sleep for five days ate more carbs and gained 2 pounds.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep causes us to make poor food choices and causes us to eat more than we actually need. This happens because the brain’s activity in the frontal lobe which is the decision-making and impulse control part is dulled from the poor sleep.
Lack of sleep is a bit similar to being drunk- we don’t have the needed mental clarity for good decision-making.
Sleep Feeds Our Brain
For the brain, sleep and rest is like nutrition and most adults need around 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health. When we get less than this amount, the body will begin to react in ways that will cause even the most dedicated dieter to the nearest fast food shop.
Moreover, low sleep will elevate the secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone which will signal the body to keep energy needed for the hours when you are awake. As a result, you are more likely to hold on to fat.
How to Improve Your Sleep
- Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only
- Avoid using computers, phones, and TVs at least an hour before bedtime
- Have a bedtime ritual like a warm bath or reading a light book
- Wake up and go to bed at approximately the same times every day
- Avoid consuming stimulants shortly before bedtime like coffee, chocolate, soda drinks
- Sleep in a dark room without any artificial or natural light- this will encourage the release of the sleep hormone known as melatonine