Lack Of Sleep And Weight Gain

Lack Of Sleep And Weight Gain

Getting a poor nights sleep not only makes you sluggish the following day, it can also lead to weight gain. When someone is sleep deprived or feeling low on energy, their natural instinct is to consume starchy comfort foods for a quick energy boost to make it through the day. As your energy levels start to drop through the day, there is a scientific reason you are inclined to reach for starchy foods.

For the most part, these foods are made up of simple carbohydrates, which are easy to break down in the body into glucose, providing you with that quick energy boost. The problem is that these types of food often contain a lot of sugar and fat.

Lack Of Sleep And Hormone Disruption

In addition to craving simple carbohydrates, if you regularly do not get enough sleep, or are lacking in quality sleep, your metabolism will suffer. This is due to the impact that a lack of sleep has on two of your nocturnal hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which both affect your appetite. Ghrelin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, stimulating your appetite. Leptin is produced by your fat cells and is a hormone which lets your brain know when you have eaten enough.

When you aren’t able to sleep for a minimum of seven hours per night, the production of these essential hormones can be thrown out of kilter. This can cause a drop in your leptin levels and an increase in your ghrelin levels. This change in your hormones increases your appetite, whilst simultaneously reducing feelings of satisfaction after you eat.

The resulting combination of a larger calorie intake to combat low energy levels and the disruption of your hormones that regulate hunger, ultimately can cause you to gain weight as a direct result of a lack of sleep.

What You Can Do 

So now we know that lack of sleep and weight gain go hand in hand, what can we do about it?

Firstly, set yourself a target of getting somewhere between seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Getting into a regular night-time routine and finding ways to relax your body and mind is a great idea if you find it difficult to fall asleep. This might include reading, writing about your day or taking a relaxing hot bath. Avoid electronic devices as much as you can. Stay away from your mobile phone and switch off the television. These devices emit blue light, which can interfere with your circadian rhythm and ultimately your sleep pattern.

Next, avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea at least four hours before you go to bed. Speaking of drinks, don’t drink too much of any beverage prior to going to bed, as it could cause sleep disturbance due to frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

Finally, try to avoid vigorous exercise within three hours of going to sleep, as you may find it difficult to switch off.

That concludes our article on lack of sleep and weight gain, please share it on social media if you enjoyed it!