Sleep and Weight Loss

With the arrival of Daylight Savings Time this past Sunday, many of us find ourselves a bit more tired and sleep deprived. I personally felt sluggish Sunday and Monday trying to adjust. Trying to ward off my fatigue I looked for food to wake me up - and not apples. Can I give a shout out to all the pancakes out there!

There are many things we do every day to stay fit. Eat healthy, workout, stay active. But what about sleep? Does sleep affect weight loss? The short answer is YES. The better sleep we get, the better our body can recovery from workouts and we tend to make better food choices.

The problem lies in the lack of sleep. When we are short on sleep it can lead to a cascade of problems:

-Lack of sleep slows our metabolism down. When we are sleep deprived our body wants to hold onto resources, thus holding onto carbs and storing them as fat.

-Lack of sleep creates a fight or flight response. The hormone cortisol raises which in turns increases the appetite.

-Lack of sleep also affects our emotions thus not handling situations most effectively.

-Lack of sleep can lead to poor food choices. When we are overly tired, our brain is looking for something that feels good, like comfort food that never quite satisfies but we still want more. Most likely we won’t go for carrots or raw broccoli.

Now that we know we need more sleep, how much sleep do we need each night? We all have different biological clocks which means we all need different amounts of sleep. Some people need 8 solid hours, where others are good on 6 hours of sleep. To know more about how much sleep you need check out this quiz here, from the sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus.

Here are tips to getting a better nights sleep.

  1. Stop using laptops, iPads, and cell phones 30 minutes before you go to sleep. The light emission from these devices suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone.
  2. Instead of counting sheep, count your breaths. Breath in for a count of 10, hold your breathe for a count of 3, and exhale for a count of 10. While you are busy counting breaths, your brain will start turning off.
  3. Watch what you eat. Avoid eating heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, which can cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep.
  4. Stay away from sodas, teas or other caffeinated beverages at least 5 hours from your bed time as caffeine can keep you awake.
  5. Take a shower. This can help relax you and can bring your body temperature down and ready for sleep.

Here’s to a good nights sleep!

1 Response

  1. Great tips! I would add in making sure you have an idea sleeping environment to the list as well. Thanks for sharing!