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Sleep More, Weigh Less

Sleep More, Weigh Less

Being short on sleep can really affect your weight. When you’re sleepy, it becomes easy to lean on a large latte to get moving. You might also be too tired to exercise, get takeout for dinner, and then sleeping late because you’re uncomfortably full.
Experts agree that getting enough sleep is as important to your health and weight as are diet and exercise.

Lacking sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It affects the brain’s activity in decision-making and impulse control. So it’s a little bit like being drunk you don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions.
In addition, when you’re overtired, your brain’s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good. So although you might be able to avoid food cravings, your sleepy brain may find trouble saying no to another piece of cake.

A study found that when people were sleep deprived, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carbohydrate snacks. Another study showed that sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least 8 hours.
A third study found that sleeping too little makes people eat bigger portions of foods which lead to weight gain.

It appears that a sleepy brain crave junk food while lacking the control to say no.

Hunger Hormones
Sleep is like nutrition for the brain, most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night and when they get less than that their body will react in ways that lead even the strictest dieter straight towards junk food.
Why? Because sleep deprivation affects your hunger and fullness hormones Ghrelin and Leptin, Ghrelin which signals your brains to eat, your body makes more ghrelin when sleep deprived. Leptin on the other hand, signals your brain to stop eating and when you are not getting enough sleep leptin level falls signaling your brain to eat more food.
It’s no wonder sleep deprivation leads to overeating and extra kilograms.
Sleep deprivation can also affect metabolism and cause drop in insulin sensitivity by 30% and when your insulin doesn’t respond properly your body find trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.
This doesn’t mean that if you sleep, you’ll lose weight, but that too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.

Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
•Turn out the lights. Darkness makes your body release the natural sleep hormone, while light suppresses it.
•Shut down your computer, cell phone, and TV at least an hour before you sleep.
•Save your bedroom for sleep. Think of relaxation, rather than work.
•Create a bedtime ritual. It’s not the time to tackle big issues. Instead, take a warm bath, meditate, or read.
•Stick to a schedule, wake up and sleep at the same times every day, even on weekends.
•Avoid eating heavy meals, alcohol and coffee close to bedtime, which may cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon



Author Info

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian