Sleep can significantly sabotage our weight loss attempts. Have you ever noticed that you’re more likely to overeat when you’re tired? Not getting enough sleep interferes with the hormones that regulate our hunger and satiety.

 

You’re probably aware that lack of sleep impacts negatively on your health in a number of ways, but it can also hamper your efforts to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet. Here’s what you need to know about how sleep affects weight loss.

 

INCREASED HUNGER

 
When you haven’t slept enough, levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin are increased so you’re likely to feel hungrier than normal which can lead to to overeating.

 

DECREASED SATIETY

 
Sleep also regulates how much leptin the body produces. Leptin is known as the ‘satiety hormone’. It lets us know when we’ve had enough to eat and sends signals to the brain that we’re full. Lack of sleep reduces levels of leptin meaning that our ‘stop eating’ messages don’t get through.

 

The combination of increased hunger and decreased satiety is a recipe for overeating. And, chances are it won’t be salad you find yourself bingeing on. In one study, people who lost 80 minutes of sleep one night ate an average of 549 extra calories the following day.

 

LACK OF WILLPOWER OR LACK OF SLEEP?

 
We often blame a lack of willpower when we struggle to control our eating, but how many of us are actually at the mercy of our hormones due to lack of sleep? Many of us give ourselves a hard time, not truly understanding the underlying causes of the perceived lack of willpower. Next time you’re tempted to overeat, or reach for foods that aren’t ideal, ask yourself if lack of sleep could be to blame.

 

FOUR WAYS TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

 

AVOID EVENING SCREENTIME

 
Phones, iPads, laptops and TVs are best avoided at least one hour before bedtime. Studies have shown that exposure to the blue light emitted by these devices can suppress melatonin – the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep.

 

AVOID STIMULANTS

 
You probably know that consuming caffeine after a certain time can affect your sleep, but alcohol can also have a negative effect on sleep too. That glass of red might make you feel sleepy, but ironically it can actually disrupt healthy sleep. Anyone who tracks their sleep and recovery using wearable health trackers like a WHOOP Strap or Oura Ring will have noticed how even small amounts of alcohol can significantly impact sleep quality and recovery.

 

HYPNOTISE YOURSELF TO SLEEP

 
Sleep hypnotherapy / meditation recordings can be very useful for helping you get off to sleep. There are many different meditation apps available to download on the App Store. We recommend MEYA which uses sound wave therapy to induce a state of calm.

 

TRY A SLEEP SUPPLEMENT

 
Countless natural sleep supplements are available over the counter. Two we find to be effective are:
Valerian and Hops – a natural, herbal sleeping aid and Unplug, a sleep complex from Motion Nutrition.

 

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