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Lack of Sleep Affects Weight Loss
This hot weather is really affecting my sleep by keeping me awake. But did you know that lack of sleep affects weight loss?
It is true, experts have shown that a lack of sleep affects weight loss and you can actually gain weight. The lack of sleep not only affects your general well-being and physical health, but also messes with your brain’s fundamental mechanisms for curbing those hunger pangs.
How? Sleep deprivation impacts on your hunger and fullness hormones in the brain. Most people need between 7 to 9 hours a day, but I am certainly not getting that at the moment.
Hormones not helping
When you sleep less, you produce less of the hormone leptin that tells you that you are full and satisfied. Which means you reach for that biscuit barrel or chocolate.
Meanwhile, you also produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which tells your body that it needs to eat more. As a result your portion control and food choices turn less healthy.
In addition to this, the general tiredness due to lack of sleep leads to an excess of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually tells your body to conserve energy and hang on to all your extra fat. Not good.
Lastly, research has shown that after even 4 days of not getting enough shut-eye, your body doesn’t respond as efficiently to insulin. This leads to fat being stored as the body cannot process this in the bloodstream as well as usual.
All these things added together mean that too little sleep makes you feel hungrier, make poor diet choices, feel less satisfied after food and have a lower metabolism to actually process food. It is no wonder that this spell of hot weather and sleep deprivation have driven my scales up!
So what do you do?
So, what do I plan to do to combat this? This weather looks set to last another few weeks if forecasts are to be believed. I plan on putting several strategies in place.
Watching what I eat. Yes, I know that these hormones are sending out the wrong signals to my brain, but by putting the right nutrition in there my body can at least be in the best state it can be to regulate my temperature. I’m also going to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. You’re more hungry when you’re thirsty.
I’m going to watch when I eat. I’m going to cut down on cola, tea and coffee, and never drink these after lunchtime. Caffeine from these drinks and even too much dark chocolate can stay in the system for hours. Also, I’m not going to eat in the 2 hours leading up to bedtime, as food laid in the stomach can affect sleep patterns.
I am going to practice good sleep hygiene, turn off all lights, remove my phone so I can’t keep time checking if I do wake up, and make sure that my bedroom is as dark and cool as it can be. It is also good sense to have a routine before bedtime of a relaxing bath, no computer or phone screens for the hour before sleep and no TV in the bedroom!
One of the best things to do is to keep to the same waking and bedtimes every day. Routine helps.