Want to Lose Weight? Get Some Sleep!

Published March 9, 2016

Now that you made your resolution to shed those unwanted pounds, is it more difficult than you imagined?  Your sleep—-or lack of sleep—may be the cause.

Lack of sleep can raise hormones associated with increased appetite, poor eating and insulin resistance. Research shows that in people who have fewer than six hours of sleep were found to have higher levels of leptin, a hormone which turns off the brain’s desire for food. There was also an increase in ghrelin, a hormone which triggers hunger. Sleep deprived people ate foods with high levels of sugar and carbohydrates to satisfy their cravings. This resulted in weight gain.

The stress hormone cortisol has been found to be elevated in people with higher levels of physical and emotional stress, as well as in sleep deprivation. Cortisol regulates the metabolism of sugar, protein and fat absorption. Excess levels of cortisol can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Cortisol promotes the storage of fat and also makes weight loss more difficult.

Sleep specialists recommend that adults sleep between seven and nine hours each night. If you are sleeping fewer hours, you may be sleep deprived and at risk for weight gain. If you are sleeping the recommended number of hours and still feel sleepy during the day, or if you wake up many times from your sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. Most sleep disorders are easily diagnosed and treated.

If you are concerned that your sleep problems are affecting your well-being and your health, contact your healthcare professional. You’ll soon be on your way to a better night’s sleep and weight loss.

Your body will love you for it.