Is Sleep Affecting My Weight Loss? [Updated 4/19]


Ever wonder why your scale won’t budge? Is it your genes, your gender, or maybe your age? While there are many things that can affect your weight loss there is one thing a lot of people do not realize. Sleep is an important part of weight loss.

It’s true! Lack of sleep can really affect your weight. Think about this for a while. If you stay up too late or struggle to fall asleep after you get in bed, when morning comes it’s easy to rely on a large latte to get your body going again. Plus, when you lose sleep you are more likely to decide you’re too tired to exercise. The excuses may even keep coming. You may be too tired to cook so you get takeout. This is an easy way to form bad habits and gain unwanted weight.

While everyone loses sleep from time to time, around two-thirds of Americans are not getting the sleep they need during the week. Many experts argue that getting enough shut-eye is important to your overall health, well-being, and weight.

Skimping out on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. Lack of sleep dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, which is where the decision-making and impulse control process takes place. When you’re tired, you don’t have the mental clarity to make the best decisions. When your body is overly tired, your brain’s reward center is working hard to find something that feels good. This makes it hard for you to say no to your food cravings.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found when people were deprived of sleep their late-night snacking increased and those snacks were more likely to be high-carb snacks. A second study found that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of foods, increasing weight gain. In a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.

When you look at the big picture, it’s clear that the lack of sleep seems to increase the hunger hormones. It also appears that the sleepy brain tends to crave junk food and often lacks the impulse control to say no.

You might even say that sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Most of us need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you aren’t getting the sleep you need, your body will react in ways that lead even the most determined dieter straight to the kitchen.

For more information about your health contact Weigh to Wellness at 205-994-2393.

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