What's Sleep Got to Do with It?

If you want to lose weight, YOU GOTTA SLEEP!

So Let’s talk about sleep. Did you know that there is a connection between sleep and appetite?

To be more precise, there is a connection between sleep and a balance of leptin and ghrelin in the body.

Ghrelin is a hormone that’s produced in the stomach and is released when we are hungry. It increases our appetite and the need to eat.

Leptin, on the other hand, is produced in fat cells and is released to tell our brain that we’re full. This, conversely, decreases appetite and increases our satiation (fullness).

In a study conducted by Stanford, scientists recorded the number of hours 1,000 volunteers reported sleeping and tested their ghrelin, leptin, and body fat percentage levels.

The volunteers who slept less than 8 hours a night had increased levels of ghrelin (which makes you hungry), decreased levels of leptin (which gives the fullness effect), and higher body fat percentages than the people that got a good night’s rest.

(Click here to read the Stanford Sleep study)

If you sleep less than 8 hours a night, you will feel more hungry than if you had a good night's rest.

Is anyone else having a flashback to those first few weeks after your baby was born, and you sat nursing at 3am on the sofa, cradling the baby in one arm and a bowl of corn flakes in the other? Anyone???

Not only does sleep play a part in regulating our leptin and ghrelin levels, it also plays a role in the production of human growth hormone. HGH helps preserve muscle and keeps our metabolism strong - with a lack of it, we see a reduction in our BMR (which results in less calories burnt by the body on a daily basis).

If you’re the type of person who has trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep

(ahem...if you're a PARENT of a young child)...

I suggest trying some of the following things:

  • Avoid food 2- 4 hours before bedtime

  • Try to follow a regular sleep/wake schedule.

  • Darken your bedroom as much as possible.

  • Try natural supplements like magnesium and melatonin.

  • Don’t drink coffee past lunch time (caffeine has a ½ life 4 hours after consumption).

  • Even the smallest amount of caffeine (even the amounts contained in dark chocolate) can interfere with sleep quality.

  • Limit sugar and high-carb foods 2-4 hours before bed time.

  • Once you are in bed, all phones are off-limits. In fact, put your phone on the other side of the room.

And THE BEST ADVICE for sleep-deprived people like me... (I mean you)...

  • Anticipate your hunger cues in advance. If you wake up knowing your quality of rest was poor, know that you are more likely to be hungry and crave snacks and carbs throughout the day. This urge is purely based on sleep deprivation and deregulation of hormones; it is not an indication that you should consume the whole box of Life cereal.

Knowledge is power my friends.

Now put down that box of Life and go to BED!

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© Kati Rehm, LLC.  Alaska USA.StrongMom Fitness.  All rights reserved.


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