Could your sleeping habits be a possible cause for why you’ve packed on the pounds? It turns out that missing valuable sleep time could indeed be contributing to obesity.
When you don’t get enough sleep time you are depriving your body in several ways. Without ample sleep time your body lacks the needed time to repair and restore itself. This can negatively affect your cognitive functioning, messing with your memory, reaction times, and even the ability to make decisions.
As for weight gain, losing sleep time means your body increases its levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This, in turn, increases your appetite. You can guess what happens next– if you’re like most people you reach for whatever food is ready to eat and readily available where you’re at. For most of us, it’s junk food. After all, it’s easier to eat a box of cookies when we’re hungry than it is to prepare a salad, right?
Meanwhile, our bodies produce serotonin when stressed. While this is intended to calm us down naturally, it can also be coupled with a desire for high-fat, high-carb “comfort foods.” Thus, a bag of potato chips is typically chosen over a hard-boiled egg, for example. We have a lot of neurochemical reactions going on, and it can be easy to make poor food and drink choices thanks to being sleep deprived.
Did you know that a lack of proper sleep causes the mitochondria in your cells to shut down, leaving sugar in the blood? Instead of getting used for fuel, that sugar ends up giving the person a high blood sugar level. Over time, the body cannot effectively deal with insulin, either. On top of that, missing important sleep time puts your hormones out of whack. In particular, there are two– ghrelin and leptin–that, under normal conditions dictate when your feel hungry or satiated. Sleep deprivation, however, makes you feel more hungry and less satiated– so you’ll crave more and more food– not a good cycle to be stuck in, right?
Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who slept four hours in bed over the course of a week gained almost two pounds more than those who slept ten hours. When it comes to sleep, time is of the essence.
Be mindful of your sleeping habits. The less “good sleep” you get, the more likely your metabolism slows down and you tend to pack on pounds. Therefore, to lose weight and feel better, you’ll need to start and stick to a specific schedule of sleep which can benefit your body overall. Try setting a nightly bedtime you can stick to every night of the week and planning for at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep before your alarm clock wakes you up. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks at dinner or before bedtime.