You heard that right – not getting enough quality sleep is directly linked to craving sweets, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight!
Sleep: Your Body’s Best Friend
Sleep is important for just about all the systems in your body, and lack of sleep reduces cognitive function including reduced reaction time, impaired decision making and memory. Sleep is also essential for the repair and recovery of the body.
Even if you think you get enough shut eye you may still be suffering from the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, just a little sleep deprivation can have a significant effect on weight gain.
How Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain
Lack of sleep increases the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite significantly. Sleep deprivation also saps willpower and decision-making ability so not only are you hungrier – you are more likely to make poor food choices. Sleep deprivation is a stressor and when you feel stressed you tend to choose high carb foods which boost serotonin.
At the same time, the body’s ability to handle carbs properly is reduced. Your cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin called insulin insensitivity which is what type 2 diabetes is all about. If lack of sleep is a chronic condition you quite literally can make yourself gain weight and become diabetic!
In addition, when you are tired, a hormone called Ghrelin is boosted while Leptin levels drop. This is quite literally a double whammy because Ghrelin increases hungers and Leptin tells you when you full and satisfied. So you are hungrier but do not feel satisfied when you do eat so you eat more!
In fact, studies have shown increased calorie intake of over 300 extra calories per day in sleep-deprived people.
Sleep is as important as exercise and diet so make it a priority and check out this previous blogpost on how to improve sleep: http://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2020/04/sleep-in-time-of-coronavirus.html