How do you feel when you lack sleep? I’m sure you’re tired but do you realize you’re hungry, as well. On the days that I feel hungrier than normal I have noticed I did not get enough sleep the night before. I feel like I’m eating all day for energy because I’m tired. It took me a long time to figure this out. Once I realized that the lack of sleep was really the problem I stopped making the association that eating more would make me feel better.
This is also a pattern I have noticed with overweight clients I have trained over the years. Many people who are over weight don’t get enough sleep. There are a number of studies correlating the lack of sleep to weight gain. David Rapoport, MD, associate professor and director of the Sleep Medicine Program at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City says “sleep and sleep disruption do remarkable things to the body –including possibly influencing our weight”. Research has shown that the lack of sleep can affect hormones like leptin and ghrelin which can affect appetite.
Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that work hand-in-hand to control appetite. Ghrelin will stimulate your appetite while leptin will send messages to your brain that you are full. What happens when you don’t get enough sleep is your leptin levels go down. When your leptin levels are low you may not feel satisfied or full after you eat. Plus the lack of sleep also makes your ghrelin levels go up, which will stimulate your appetite. It’s a double whammy effect, which leads to, over eating.
What the research is showing and what I tell a client who wants to lose weight is that you must get enough sleep. At least seven hours a night is what I recommend for weight loss.
If you’re having trouble losing weight try sleeping more for a few weeks and let me know if it helps.
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Best – Mike Cola