How Sleep Affects Your Weight

As we welcome the summer, and all the fun activities it brings along with it, we may tend to stay up later. More daylight means more time to stay awake and less time for sleep. But as you’ll soon learn, lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your waistline!

Have you ever had a day where you just couldn’t get full? You were constantly snacking and feeling hungry? This may help explain why certain days are harder for us to eat healthier than others.

Research keeps pointing to the connection between sleep deprivation and being overweight. Scientific studies have shown that the ideal amount of sleep for an adult is seven to nine hours. Many people are getting less sleep than that, unfortunately. In one study, people who got five hours of sleep or less had a 73 percent increased risk of being overweight.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t mean you wake up with more fat on your body. It’s all about your hormones. Two important hormones, called ghrelin and leptin, have a direct impact on your appetite. They are created and fluctuating during sleep.

Ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone, tells your body that you’re hungry, you need food, and you want to eat more. Picture this as a “green means go” hormone. When you sleep the adequate 7-9 hours, ghrelin levels will decrease. You wake up with less of this appetite- stimulating hormone, making you less hungry throughout the day. This is good! When you get less than seven hours of sleep, ghrelin doesn’t have enough time to properly decrease, leaving levels high. You wake up with more of the appetite-stimulating hormone. You spend the day constantly hungry, and wanting to eat and snack. This is the opposite of what you want!

Leptin is the appetite-suppressing hormone that tells your body when you’ve had enough to eat, to stop eating, and that you’re full. Picture this as the “red means stop” hormone. When you sleep the adequate seven to nine hours, leptin levels will increase. You wake up with more of this appetite-suppressing hormone, making you less hungry throughout the day.

When you get less than seven hours of sleep, leptin doesn’t have a chance to increase enough. You’re left with less of this appetite-suppressing hormone, leaving levels low and making you ravenously hungry. You never feel satisfied, like a bottomless pit. This is the opposite of what you want!

The problem here is that not getting enough sleep will make you hungry, and eating more is what will cause you to gain more weight.

Following these lunch guidelines at work will put you on the path to overall wellness. It will take some effort at first, but you’ll soon have so much more energy that you won’t want to treat yourself to anything less. Make this your most efficient year yet!

Try These Tips to Get More Sleep:

  1. You can’t sleep if you aren’t in bed! Get into bed earlier.
  2. Try drinking Calm, a magnesium supplement, at It’s a natural way to relax your muscles and help you sleep better.
  3. Get off of your devices! Listen to soothing music instead! You must discipline yourself and create a nighttime routine that encourages more sleep.
Eugenia Orr
eugeniaorr@gmail.com
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