Do you know roughly 1 in 3 American adults suffer from sleep issues?
Have you ever had a poor night of sleep and then the next day find yourself snacking…
I knew this feeling all too well as I had suffered from insomnia for years when I was a teenager and would find myself in a bottomless pit of snacks that never satisfied me.
This is a common pattern for people who don't get great sleep.
Quality sleep is essential to being healthy, yet so many people struggle with it.
So is your poor sleep affecting your weight loss? And why is sleep so important?
While we sleep, our body does essential jobs that don't happen when we are awake…
The body detoxes stored toxins
Toxic byproducts are removed from your brain, which build up throughout the day, allowing your brain to function clearly
Cells both repair and regrow
Short-term memories convert into long-term memories
Controls & regulates hunger hormones
If you're someone who struggles with sleep, you may want to dive into WHY your sleep isn't great. I wrote a 3 part series newsletter on things affecting your sleep. You can read them here - https://www.drtorriethompson.com/post/foods-affecting-your-sleep
But back to weight loss and sleep!
Numerous studies have found, the less we sleep, the more we weigh.
One study found that one night of bad sleep caused participants to eat an average of 385 calories more the following day. The participants took in more calories, but did not expend more energy the following day.
Another study found that “night owls” ate 250 more calories the following day than “regular sleepers”.
So what is responsible for making us eat more when we don't sleep well?
The 2 hormones that play the biggest role in sleep & metabolism are Leptin and Ghrelin.
Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells to regulate our appetite. So if you're a person with excess fat, the body should increase leptin to decrease your appetite.
Leptin levels increase in the middle of the night and many researchers believe this is so we don't feel hungry and eat in the middle of the night.
Studies have shown that when we fail to get enough sleep our lectin levels remain low. This can cause the brain to think we need more calories and our appetite increases the next day.
The second hormone is called Ghrelin and this hormone is made in the stomach and is often referred to as the hunger hormone. Ghrelin signals to the brain that it is time to eat when the stomach is empty, causing us to feel hungry. Once we've eaten, Ghrelin decreases and signals to us that we are no longer hungry.
When we sleep, our Ghrelin levels naturally decrease. But when we don't get good sleep our ghrelin levels stay high, signaling us to eat more.
So by a poor night of sleep, we end up feeling hungrier (ghrelin) and less full than (leptin) after a restful night of sleep.
Luckily, there are so many tools to help you improve your sleep quality such as blue light blockers, cooler sleeping temperatures, creating wind-down practice, sleeping in complete darkness, eating clean, and reducing stress.