What we eat and how much we eat is directly correlated to the amount of sleep we get and therefore sleep and weight loss are linked. People underestimate its importance in weight loss and weight management when it actually has a stronger influence than diet or exercise! So to manage weight and live healthily there are three vital components – Diet, exercise and rest/recovery.
How does sleep affect weight loss?
Body fat is directly correlated to our sleep patterns. Too little sleep affects hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin levels decrease creating cravings and ghrelin levels increase which have the same hunger boosting effect.
Sleep deprivation results in increased blood glucose and insulin levels. It also causes insulin resistance. This is catastrophic for weight loss as high insulin levels inhibit growth hormone. Growth hormone is crucial for building muscle tissue and reducing fat tissue.
Lack of sleep causes lethargy and laziness so will decrease the desire and ability to carry out physical exercise. If the body hasn’t had the chance to repair and regenerate it will underperform both physically and mentally, and so the chances of developing stress and anxiety become much higher.
Disrupted and insufficient sleep has become a greater problem over the past 30 years, contributing to heart disease, some cancers and diabetes.
Research suggests that sleep deprivation increases food consumption in two ways. Firstly, people eat more for the instant energy they need to make up for lost sleep, and secondly it appears to increase the sensitivity of the brain’s reward system to high calorie foods. Even after one night of inadequate sleep the area of the brain that senses appetite is more activated than usual. Junk food becomes much more tempting and there is an increase in the desire for fatty, high calorie foods.
Therefore, when you think about sleep, its quality and quantity can be a deciding factor in managing or losing control of your weight.
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