If you are struggling to lose weight despite a healthy diet and exercising regularly you might be missing one key ingredient – sleep. Research studies show that hitting the sack for a solid seven to nine hours is just as important as hitting the gym when it comes to weight loss. Let’s take a look…
Lack of sleep changes our bodies hormones. It increases our hunger signalling hormone, ghrelin, and decreases our satiety hormone leptin. This change in hormones causes an increased appetite with more frequent and stronger hunger pangs and the desire for high calorie and carbohydrate-rich foods. Do you ever crave sweet more so when you’re tired to help pick you up? You can blame these hormones for that! In fact, studies have shown people consume an additional 1600kJ more than usual after a bad night’s sleep – ouch!
Sleep loss also elevates our cortisol levels
Cortisol is our stress hormone, signalling to the body that we are stressed. One of the ways the body responds is by protecting its energy stores by breaking down carbohydrates, proteins (muscle tissue) and stored fats to fuel the body in a stressful situation. Having chronically elevated cortisol levels can put the body into a catabolic state where the body breaks down lean tissue and stores fat. Not ideal!
Arguably, sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to weight management. Although the odd bad night’s sleep won’t affect your weight, if you’re constantly battling a sleep debt, investing in some good bedtime habits will certainly pay off in more ways than one. Check out our blog for Tips to Get Better Sleep.
- Beccuti, G., Pannain, S. 2011. Sleep and Obesity. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Care. 14 (4): 402-412
- H, K, Al, Khatib., S, V, Harding., J, Darzi., G, K, Pot. 2016. The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71, 614-624. DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.201
- Gonzlez-Ortiz, M., Martinez-Abundis, E., Balcazar-Munoz, B., & Gonzalez, S. (2000). Effects of sleep deprivation on insulin sensitivity and cortisol concentration in healthy subjects. Diabetes Nutrition Metabolism, 13(2), 80-83.