Updated: Apr 23, 2020
When it comes to losing weight, usually our main focus is exercise and nutrition. However, there is another piece of the puzzle that is vitally important! That piece is sleep!
Some of the ways sleep can hinder weight loss!
Lack of sleep, less than 6 hours of sleep at night has been shown to negatively affect hormone imbalances. Leptin and ghrelin are the hormones responsible for hunger and appetite. Leptin, the hormone responsible for appetite suppression has been shown to be decreased. Ghrelin, the hormone responsible for appetite stimulation, increased after several nights of sleep restriction.
Leptin is carried by the blood stream to the brain, where it sends signals to the hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain that controls when and how much we eat. Leptin also regulates fat storage and how many calories you eat and burn.
With the increase in ghrelin and the decrease in leptin, you end up eating more than you normally would. One research study that depicted these results was done with a group of individuals who was in a calorie deficit and can be viewed on annal.org.
Not getting sufficient sleep can contribute to increased stress therefore increasing cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol triggers the reward center in your brain, which makes you crave food, and once again increasing your appetite and food intake!
It has also been shown that people who consistently sleep less than 6 hours of sleep have glucose and insulin levels similar to those of people with diabetes. The fat cells lose their ability to properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas to help control glucose levels. When there is a rise of glucose in the blood, the pancreas excretes insulin into the blood stream which signals to the liver. The muscle and fat cells then take in the glucose to be used as energy. If the body has enough energy, then it signals the liver to store it as glycogen. Beyond that, the rest is stored as fat for later use.
If your insulin levels continue to rise due to lack of sleep, then your body becomes more resistant to insulin and therefore it will produce more and more to continue to function. Ultimately causing the excess glucose to build up, resulting in weight gain.
Getting enough sleep at night, preferably 7 hours or more is essential and can be one of the factors affecting your weight loss progress. I am also guilty at times, so this post is not just for you but also for me too. I use the ionic fit bit as my sleep tracker and I absolutely love it! It also gives you a sleep score and tracks your REM, Deep and Light time spent in each stage of sleep. There are other trackers out there that are good too. In my opinion it is a great investment! Let us move forward together, really making an effort to pay more attention to how much sleep we get at night.
Happy Sleeping :-)