Tag Archives: sleep and weight loss

sleep and weight loss

Tips for Better Sleep

When you’re feeling sleepy at the office, you might be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee and a sugary snack from the vending machine for a little pick-me-up. When the clock strikes five, you may skip the gym and stop at the drive-thru on the way home because you’re just too dang tired to even think about cooking. You end up sinking into the couch with a cheeseburger in one hand and the remote in the other. Even though you were sure you were going to pass out as soon as your butt hit the chair, suddenly you can’t sleep.

If this cycle sounds familiar, your sleep pattern may be to blame. On the surface, the connection between sleep and weight loss seems obvious. When you don’t get enough sleep, your energy dwindles and you reach for a comfort food, like potato chips, or some coffee or soda. The immediate result is a quick burst of energy, but the longer-term effect is unwanted pounds, more sleep loss, and negative health consequences.

Sleep and Weight Loss

When you’re sleep deprived, your metabolism suffers and your hormones go out of whack — two physiological processes that are essential for weight loss. Sleep deprivation ups the body’s production of ghrelin, a hormone that signals when it is time to eat. To make matters worse, when the body doesn’t get enough sleep, it reduces production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that your belly is full. This combination of effects can spell disaster for your weight loss plan.

Although the exact amount of sleep you need is based on different personal factors, most people need about 7.5 hours of shut-eye a night. Increasing that won’t magically help you lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, getting seven hours a night helps boost your metabolism and helps you shed pounds.

If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep at night, it is time to make a change. Follow these tips to start giving your body the rest it needs.

Skip the Caffeine

It’s fine to start your day with a cup of joe, but skip caffeine in the afternoon. When you down caffeinated drinks after about 2pm, your body stays stuck in sleep’s lighter stages at night instead of getting the deeper rest it needs.

Get Exercise

Physical exercise can boost the quality of your sleep, and it doesn’t matter much when you do it. Aim to get at least one hour of exercise each day to sleep better at night.

Forego the Midnight Snack

If you are about to hit the sheets, stay away from midnight snacks, especially things like pizza or chicken wings. These fatty, greasy foods can cause heartburn and keep you up. If your stomach is grumbling close to bedtime, opt for a lighter snack, like a cup of low-fat cottage cheese or an apple. If battling bedtime cravings is a regular issue for you, try Crave-a-Way to conquer the temptation.


sleep and weight loss

Sleep and Weight Loss: What’s the Connection?

As a kid, you probably fought your parents tooth and nail over naptime, bedtime or any time that involved you having to go to sleep. As an adult, you may count down the minutes until you can crawl back into your bed. If you’re lucky enough to get 8 hours of sleep, your body thanks you more than you know. If you’re not, your body is likely to respond with grumpiness, fatigue and forgetfulness. Your body may also be punishing you for lack of sleep by making it more difficult for you to lose weight. So what exactly is the connection between sleep and weight loss? It all comes down to hormones.

Sleep and Weight Loss

There are two hormones involved in telling you when to eat and when you should stop eating. Ghrelin is the hormone that says “Hey, you’re hungry, let’s eat.” Leptin is the hormone that says “Okay, stop now. I think you’ve had enough.” When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin. As a result, your body is constantly telling you to eat without signaling you to stop. To add insult to injury, your metabolism is also slower when you haven’t had a good night of sleep so you’re not using the calories you are eating as efficiently. This not only hinders your progress, it can actually lead to weight gain.

What Can You Do?

The most obvious answer to correcting the problems caused by lack of sleep is to get more sleep. If your issue is simply that you aren’t going to bed early enough, get to bed at a decent hour. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night (although eight is ideal). For some of you, though, it may not be that easy. It’s estimated that 40 million Americans have trouble sleeping.

If you’re one of those with sleeping trouble, you may benefit from a sleep aid, like melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced by the pineal gland in your brain. The hormone controls your circadian rhythm – your biological clock that tells you when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to wake up. If your melatonin levels are out of whack, it can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and sleep deprivation. Melatonin supplements provide the body with synthetic melatonin – which mimics the effects of the natural melatonin produced by your brain — to help you get to sleep faster and keep you snoozing throughout the night.

Magnesium is another supplement that can help with sleep. Magnesium plays a huge role in your nervous system and making sure you have enough in your body can help calm you down when it’s time to rest.

You can also increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep by limiting your caffeine intake and watching what you eat before bed. If you like to drink coffee in the afternoon, switch to decaf after 2 p.m. Avoid caffeinated sodas and energy drinks. Try not to eat a big meal close to bedtime. If it’s late and you’re hungry, have a light snack like a bowl of cereal to tide you over until the morning. Getting enough sleep should always be one of your top priorities.