How Sleep Affects your Weight

Are you afraid of missing a step while running on the treadmill? Or you are dozing off behind your computer screen? You can barely keep your eyes open because last night binge-watching the latest season of Stranger Things was much more important than catching up on sleep. 

Sound familiar?

In order to lose weight, the quality of your sleep is just as salient as the quality of your diet and the frequency of your exercise.

Unfortunately, people are turning into nocturnal owls which is seen as trendy and hip. According to the US study, about 30% of adults are sleeping fewer than six hours almost every night.

If you want to lose weight fast, the amount and the quality of sleep you get after a day’s work really sets the tone for the following day. When we had a good shut-eye the day before our body and mind works better. When we aren’t well-rested we are more prone to anger, irritation and focus is out of the window. Having small bouts of sleep is detrimental to every aspect of your health- from your mental health to your immune system, to your ability to lose weight.

Being tired makes you more hungry

When you are sleep deprived, the hormones that control your appetite goes haywire, leaving you hungry all the time. “A tired brain is a hungry brain,” says Param Dedhia, M.D. director of sleep medicine at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Our hunger cues are regulated by a lot of hormones and brain chemicals, predominated being leptin and ghrelin. Leptin signals your brain when you are full and ghrelin signals your brain when you are hungry. When you are sleep deprived, your leptin levels drop and your ghrelin levels rise, turning you into a food hungry monster more prone to weight gain.

Fatty food is calling you

If it wasn’t bad enough that your sleepy brain craves food even when you are not hungry it craves special fatty, greasy, sugary, salty food. Your methodical meal plan is out of the window. Lack of sleep neurologically alters the way your brain works, there is less activity in the frontal lobe which is in charge of decision-making and self-control making it even harder to stay healthy and resist tempting food. In addition, it seems reward centers of the brains are much more responsive and stimulated by junk food if you are sleep deprived.    

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism

If you are tired, your organs are also tired. Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism making all the unhealthy food difficult to digest. Your fat-burning mechanism is decelerating. Research suggests that poor sleeping habits even for a week can substantially harm your metabolism, especially interfering with the body’s ability to process glucose which can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes your body store sugar instead of breaking it down into energy. 

Sleep can enhance physical activity

Lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue, making you feel drained, tired and less motivated to exercise. In addition, you’re more likely to get tired pretty fast during physical activity. A recent study done on 15 men found that when participants were sleep-deprived the amount and the intensity of the physical activity was relatively reduced. 

When you treat yourself to a good quality of sleep you are more alert, faster, more motivated to work and you’re are more productive.

The Conclusion

For your diet plans to work getting a good quality of sleep is imperative. A restful slumber goes hand-in-hand with eating right and exercising. Poor, interrupted sleep dramatically alters the brain on how it responds to food. Your appetite increases and you are less likely to resist temptations and cravings. To make matters worse, it becomes a vicious cycle. The more sleep deprived you are the more weight you will gain and the more weight you gain, the harder it is to sleep. The only way to break the cycle is to inculcate healthy sleeping habits which will help you regulate your circadian rhythm and support your goals to lose weight.