Post submitted by Stacey Brouk, MS, RD, LD
I caught your attention with that title, didn’t I? It’s not entirely as easy as it sounds, but there is actually a connection between weight loss and sleep. Have you ever noticed that when you don’t get a restful night of sleep, the next day it doesn’t seem to matter what you eat you don’t feel full or satisfied? This could be a result of your leptin and ghrelin levels being abnormal. Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that influence your hunger and satiety cues and it turns out that when you don’t get enough sleep, these hormone levels are altered and you end up being hungrier and more difficult to satisfy.
I don’t know about you, but a good night’s sleep is one of my absolute favorite things! I feel great and refreshed when I wake up and feel like I can take on the world. On the other hand, a night of only a few hours of sleep leaves me feeling like everything the next day is more difficult. I notice, too, that it is easier to control portions and stick to healthy food selections when well rested. When you’re tired, you may crave and choose high carbohydrate or high sugar foods instinctively because they give you a buzz of energy to keep you going for a bit. Unfortunately, that buzz of energy comes with lots of calories and you might be too zapped of energy to burn them off at the gym. Extra calories consumed and not enough calories burned will lead to weight gain. If you get a good night’s sleep, you will have a better chance at making healthier food choices and controlling snacking. You’ll also have more energy to exercise, so getting plenty of sleep may be a key part of achieving your weight loss goals.
While there is no guarantee that you’ll see dramatic changes in your weight loss by getting a little more sleep, it certainly won’t hurt. Do your best to get 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night so your hunger hormones stay in check. Get your ZZZ’s tonight by going to bed just a little earlier. I know I will!