Working full time and being a mom includes many sleepless nights! I’ve lectured at @UCLA on the importance of sleep for years, but struggle often to get the recommended 6-8 hours a night! And while there are so many motivations to sleep, I’m always drawn to the strong connection between sleep and weight loss! I even own the website, GAINSLEEPLOSEWEIGHT.com because I wanted to write a whole book dedicated to it. The research is immense!
So, how do we lose weight by sleeping more?
- Studies have shown there’s a connection between short sleep with higher levels of appetite. It’s also connected to lower levels of leptin – which is a hormone that suppresses the feeling of hunger. Meaning, that when we don’t sleep well we feel more hungry AND less satisfied!
- Shorter sleep has also been proven to increase cravings for high carb, high sugar foods, which ultimately leads to weight gain. And the lesser people sleep, the worse people’s snacking habits are. (http://bit.ly/32AvH8w for the studies referenced) .
Here are the reasons why whenever we gain sleep we lose weight:
Less sleep – Weight Gain:
- Short sleepers can feel hungrier and crave more sweet and salty food.
- Sleep-deprived individuals eat approximately 550 more calories a day.
More sleep – Weight Loss:
- Adequate sleep decreases the feeling of hunger.
- Deep sleep restores energy and regulates appetite.
- Adequate sleep shown to reduce calorie, fat, and carb intake and result in weight loss.
- Deep sleepers showed to have healthier eating patterns overall.Here are some guidelines for better sleep:
- Gradually cut back your caffeine intake, I do my best to stop by 11 am.
- Eat a lower fat dinner 3 hours prior to sleep, which can improve digestion 😀Avoid spicy foods, which can cause heartburn
- Get 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 times per week (In 2013 a study found that people who exercise sleep better, and feel more rested than those who don’t workout)
- If you have sleep apnea, losing 10% of your body weight can help you sleep better through the night
Lastly, please note that you can still lose weight and reach your goals if you’re getting less sleep than you’d like.
But, note that it may take some extra prep to help you make better choices when you’re not as clear-minded. Also, if you are tired, focus on higher protein snacks and veggies with a fiber-filled carb for sustained energy.