Have you noticed that when you don't sleep enough, you tend to be hungry? Well it's not in your head. There are a number of hormones in your body that regulate your appetite and your body's ability to burn fat and they can be affected by the quality and quantity of your sleep. In fact, bad sleep can be one of the reasons why you might find it difficult to lose weight.
Most of us only think of weight loss as the number of calories we take in and how much sport we do to burn them. But the time we spend sleeping and the quality of our sleep can make just as much of a difference.
Wait, nobody told you about this before? Unfortunately, it's only normal. Who will make money if you sleep more? Noone. Who will make money if you subscribe to a weight-loss programme with a restrictive diet or if you go to the gym? Lots of people. The diet and fitness industries are huge, yet they drive people's attention away from simple habits that can help tremendously, such good sleep hygiene, or stress management.
Let's look at a bit of science:
- Leptin and Ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone which makes you feel full, while ghrelin is a hormone that makes you feel hungry. You guessed it: bad sleep means leptin goes down and ghrelin goes up, which means you feel less full and hungrier, leading you to eat more than you really need to.
- Cortisol. Cortisol is your stress hormone, and it's higher in the evening if you're sleep deprived. Higher cortisol levels can lead to insulin resistance, which, in its turn, can lead to increased weight and obesity.
- Glucagon. Glucagon tells your body to burn fat. Its levels drop when you don't get enough good quality sleep, so your body burns less fat than it should.
These are just a few examples of how you might be holding on to weight just because you're not sleeping enough. Thankfully we're moving away from the mentality of bragging because we can "get on" with as little sleep as possible. Check out an older blog post with a few tips on how to sleep better.
How many hours do you sleep? Do you feel rested when you wake up? The next time the scale is up, look at how you have been sleeping before adopting the next diet. It might just be what you need.
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
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