SLEEP for weight management

Charlotte Kapitza

EMAIL: char@ironlab.ca

Did you know your quality of sleep greatly impacts your overall health and weight management?

Sleep for weight management? Yes, it’s true! Sleep can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or adversely, cause you to gain weight if you are lacking sufficient sleep. 

The explanations of what happens to our bodies (and brains) when we don’t get enough sleep, or quality sleep, are seemingly endless. I’ll just cover a couple topics that relate to sleep for weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight, or moving closer to your weight loss goals is only a good nights sleep away!

Did you know when you have had a bad sleep you are more likely to eat unhealthy foods? 

Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation alters functional connections between the prefrontal cortex. This area of your brain is responsible for impulse control, so when it isn’t firing on all cylinders you’re more likely to reach for that doughnut, pizza or other simple carbs and sugars. Your body and brain want more simple carbs and sugars when you are lacking sleep. Sleep for weight management, weight loss and sustainability!

The Double Whammy!

On top of your loss of impulse control, getting a bad nights sleep will affect some major hormones that can affect how much you eat. On low sleep, lower levels of LEPTIN are present, which is the satisfaction hormone that tells us when are are no longer hungry. Conversely, GHRELIN, the hunger hormone, can remain higher during times of low sleep, even after eating a meal. So, these hormones are working against you at the same time when you’re experiencing times of low or bad quality sleep. 

Another thing!

Lack of sleep can also hinder muscle growth and performance. SHRINKING SLEEP = SHRINKING MUSCLES

Insufficient sleep will compromise your ability to manage your body weight even with dieting.

One study found that individuals getting less than 6h of sleep 70% of all the weight that they lost came from lean muscle mass and NOT fat stores. Why would your body do this? Fat is a highly energy rich substance, when you are underslept your body will deliberately become stingy in giving up its fat. It will start to metabolise muscle instead. When you’re trying to lose weight you want to keep muscle and lose fat, so not getting a quality amount of sleep will make it more difficult for you to reach those goals. 

sleep for weight management

HOW TO GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP

Eat to sleep better – a high fibre and low sugar diet will help you sleep better, wake up less, and get a deeper sleep.

Don’t go to bed too full or too hungry – stop eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed BUT if you absolutely need a snack, try to have one that is low in sugar.

Regularity will help – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time, every day, even on weekends. Your body will respond well to a regular schedule, your sleep will improve in quantity and quality.

Wind down! – We all know minimizing screen use an hour before bed will help our sleep, but having a regular night time routine that involves stretching, reading, meditation or some other calming quiet activity will help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep. Again, a regular routine here helps too. 

Temperature – the optimal sleep temperature is 18°C or 67°F. You will always sleep better slightly cooler than slightly warmer.

One last tip!

Do you stress and worry in bed, going over all the events in the day or all the things you have to get done tomorrow? Start a WORRY JOURNAL. Write down all your concerns or “”to do’s” on paper, get them out of your head so you don’t have to think about it. Studies have shown this method helps us fall asleep faster, and we are more likely to fall back asleep quicker if we wake up in the middle of the night. 

I hope this has been informative as well as helpful! Please send me a message if you have any questions, comments, or would just like to say hi! 

Sources: Matthew Walker

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