Sleeping the Weight Away

Posted by FiscusFitness, LLC on October 23, 2016

There are two main reasons a good night’s sleep helps keep your waistline in check.

The first has to do with the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin signals the brain to tell it that you are full. Ghrelin stimulates the appetite, letting you know you’re hungry.

When you don’t log enough hours, your leptin level falls, which means your hunger is not satisfied. At the same time, your ghrelin levels rise, so your appetite is stimulated and you want more food. When you combine the two, you end up being hungrier and not feeling satisfied with your normal amount of food. Obviously the more food you eat over maintenance, the stronger potential to gain weight.

Besides those that don't sleep, you have those you can't sleep, restfully.  Some people have undiagnosed sleep apnea.  People with this condition actually stop breathing in their sleep. Researchers don’t know exactly why this happens. Others stay up reading, on the computer, or texting on the phone.  Whatever the reason behind your restless night; when your sleep is constantly disrupted, you are not getting enough quality hours of rest.   

Doctors theorize during the day these people eat more as a way to compensate for their lack of energy. They tend to crave a lot of carbohydrates and products with sugar. Because they are so tired, these same people also move less. This again, leads to not being in a deficit, making it impossible to lose weight. 

The key message: no matter where your hormones levels fall, shoot for eight hours of sleep.  Several studies show most adults do best with this number. If you find yourself only getting four to six hours, make up for it one night by trying to get ten hours of sleep. After that, strive to get eight hours every evening for a week and see how you feel.  

Busy work professionals, stressed out moms, and college students taking a full load of courses probably think it's impossible to find time to sleep that much.  However, it really is important to your overall health and may make you more productive in your waking hours.  You have to make it a prioroty: just like working out or eating healthy.

If you feel tired no matter how much sleep you get, ask someone close to you to listen to your sleep patterns.  If you snore, breathe heavy or gasp in your sleep... it’s possible you have sleep apnea. You should seek the opinion of a medical professional to confirm and treat this condition.