Is this you?
You didn’t sleep well last night.
Or the night before. And the one before that.
You tossed and turned and watched the clock creep round.
And now you are dead beat.
Too tired to make a real breakfast.
You grab a coffee and a doughnut and race to work……..
That’s how it starts.
Sleep deprivation CAN make you fat.
You are running on low energy so you eat a bag of potato chips or quick comfort foods.
That energy doesn’t last long so you become lethargic.
Too tired to think about healthy food shopping.
Too tired to think about exercise!
Another coffee ….
And yes, the coffee may fight off sleepiness for a while but the poor food choices along with lack of exercise set up the perfect foundation for obesity and further sleep loss.
So how does lack of sleep make me gain weight?
Do the Math.
Your metabolism won’t function properly if you are not getting enough minutes of good quality sleep. On average, you need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night. Another half hour won’t help you lose 10 pounds, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.
The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin.
- Ghrelin tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.
- Leptin tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.
Do the metabolism maths! More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.
How do I deal with sleep deprivation?
- Check out how much you sleep and how well you sleep. If pain or a sleep disorder is keeping you awake, get a medical assessment. A sleep specialist will conduct a thorough evaluation and study your sleep patterns to help identify any underlying problem. Together you can develop a treatment plan that gives you more high-quality sleep — maybe you’ll slim down too.
- Avoid any caffeine in the afternoon because it keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep — which are associated with poor sleep — at night. Only decaf after 2 p.m.
- Exercise helps improve sleep quality. It’s more important that you exercise than it is when you exercise but for most the rule is not right before going to bed.
- Watch what you eat before bedtime. . Heavy, rich meals before bed can increase risk of heartburn, which will certainly keep you up all night. A few healthy snacks and a light meal are best if you are close to bed-time.