Sleep and weight loss? Now that’s an interesting concept. The consensus view of a healthy happy life begins with lifestyle. This includes diet, exercise, hydration, and stress reduction. Studies have proven that adequate sleep is just as important as diet and exercise for our health and well-being and may help reduce our waistline.
Our bodies were not designed to run in high gear 24/7. In a previous post we talked about our circadian rhythm, which is our bodies’ internal clock that determines when we sleep and when, we wake. This is our bodies’ regulatory system to insure that we receive the rejuvenation and repair work that happens during sleep.
When the body slows down for the day, the little workman cells of the body go into repair and maintenance mode. This process is vital to maintaining adequate brain function and memory so that we make good decisions from a place of clarity rather than the foggy brain that can occur with not enough sleep.
When we feel tired we are more likely to reach for a latte, sugary or high fat treat in order to increase our energy level. These poor choices lead to a greater intake of unhealthy fats, which lead to weight gain. We also feel less likely to partake in exercise or regular physical activity because we are too tired.
Sleep also impacts the hunger and fullness hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that signals the brain that it is time to eat, while leptin is the hormone that lets the body know that we have enough energy and to stop eating. One study showed that ghrelin levels, appetite and hunger were all increased in those subjects that had less than 8 hours of sleep. (2)
Leptin regulates our appetite, metabolism and calorie burning. This is the chemical that signals the brain that we are full. While we sleep, leptin levels increase which in turn signals the brain that we have plenty of energy. When we don’t get adequate sleep, the leptin levels in the body decrease which signals to the brain that we are low on energy and that we need more fuel for the fire. This in turn sends the signal that we are hungry, when in fact we are actually sleep deprived.
This disruption in our appetite and satiation response causes the body to operate inefficiently.
“The decrease in leptin brought on by sleep deprivation can result in a constant feeling of hunger and a general slow-down of your metabolism.” (1)
Our bodies are constantly working to keep us in a state of balance. The body cannot recognize the difference between hungers brought on by sleep deprivation, vs. lack of food. It only knows that it is receiving a signal that has taken it out of balance and it needs to correct the error.
We can help our bodies to work efficiently by giving it the proper nutrition, hydration, exercise and rest it needs. We at Simple Health have created a comprehensive guide to help attain the restful night sleep our bodies require and a roadmap to help get you there. Begin your path to wellness by joining our on line program today.