We live in a fast-paced world, and sometimes it feels like we don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish even half of our to-dos! In the race to stay on top of things, sleep often lags behind on our list of priorities. We’re all aware that not getting enough sleep saps energy and concentration, but did you know that it can also have an impact on your waistline?
Sleep and Hormones
Lack of sleep can affect your hormonal levels, and actually triggers certain hormones that increase hunger and decrease the feeling of fullness.
So, how do these hormones lead to weight gain? Well, when you’re short on sleep, here’s what happens:
- The body secretes more of the hormone Ghrelin, which causes you to feel hungry.
- It secretes less of the hormone Leptin, the “stop eating” hormone.
- It produces more of the Cortisol—or stress—hormone, which will also increase your appetite.
When these levels are off kilter, your body is constantly telling you it needs to eat, so you’ll inevitably be snacking and packing—on the pounds, that is! In a nutshell, less sleep means moving farther away from your weight loss goal.
Steps to Better Sleep for Weight Loss
- Cut back on the afternoon cup of Joe. If you still need to fill that coffee craving, have a decaf or herbal tea instead.
- Get Active. Studies have shown that staying active can help improve sleep quality. Plus, being well rested gives you more energy to exercise. It’s win-win for healthy living!
- Soothe yourself before bed. Wind down and relax by listening to mellow music, reading a book or magazine, taking a bath, or practicing deep breathing.
- Go to bed at around the same time every night. Make a schedule of your daily tasks so you’re in bed when you need to be. If you can, stick to a similar sleeping schedule on the weekends, and try to wake up at the same time everyday to get your body into a healthy pattern.
- Eliminate distractions. Turn off lights, television, computers, noise, and bright clocks to sleep completely undisturbed.
- Ensure your bedroom is sleep-friendly. Keep your room dark and slightly cool. A bedroom that’s too hot or too cold will have you tossing and turning.
- Stay away from big meals at night. Dine earlier in the evening and avoid eating right before bed to prevent indigestion.