How Sleep and Weight Loss are Connected 2016-11-14T11:06:01+00:00

How sleep and weight loss are connected

By Shain Rossi, Certified Personal Trainer

If you’re wondering what sleep and weight loss have to do with each other, the answer is quite a bit.  If you’re eating healthy, and exercising, but still not making the weight loss progress you want, take a look at your sleep habits.

Sleep and weight loss: hormones and your appetite

sleep and weight loss - san pedro weight loss coachSleep patterns can affect hormone production, and hormones are responsible for a lot of processes in your body including weight regulation. Ghrelin and leptin are two hormones that play a role in your appetite. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite and increased levels are produced when you’re running low on sleep.

Leptin works the opposite way. It acts as an appetite suppressant, which signals your brain to stop eating.  Leptin may be in short supply when your sleep deprived.

So if you’re not getting enough shuteye, you may have an increase in ghrelin, making you want to eat. While at the same time, an increase in leptin is telling your brain, you’re not full yet, so keep munching away. It’s no wonder it’s so easy to stray from a healthy eating plan when you’re not getting enough sleep.

Sleep impacts the choices you make

But sleep can also affect your weight in a few practical ways. For instance, when you’re wiped out, the last thing on your mind might be exercising.

It’s also easier to lack discipline and make unhealthy food choices when you’re exhausted. Your willpower is often lower when you’re tired. Think about it. When you stumble into work in the morning still feeling sleepy, it might be harder to say no to the pastries and donuts on the conference table.

Improving your sleep to support health and fitness goals

It’s clear getting enough rest is important to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Keep in mind, there is not an exact rule about how much sleep adults need. But studies have shown that most people have an increased risk of gaining weight if they get less than six hours of sleep a night. Getting less than six hours of sleep also made weight loss more difficult for study participants.

Most experts say adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. To increase your chances of getting quality sleep, consider some of the following tips:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each night. A consistent sleep schedule helps promotes better sleep.
  • Create the right environment for sleep. A good bed and mattress are a must. Block out light with blackout curtains and consider using a fan or sound machine to help mask ambient noise.
  • Cut the caffeine a few hours before bed. Too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages can rob you of sound sleep. While you’re at it, limit the nightcaps. Alcohol might help you drift off, but it disrupts restful sleep.
  • Do something relaxing before bed. Anything that helps you unwind and relax, such as prayer, meditation, or listening to music might help you fall asleep. But avoid looking at your phone – the blue-spectrum light from the screen sends a wake-up signal to your brain.

Although we all lead busy lives, it’s important to make sleep a priority. Not only is it good for your overall well-being, but your waistline might also thank you.

Looking for other ideas to improve your sleep and weight loss? The personal trainers at Elite Triangle Fitness can work with you to help you achieve your health and fitness goals whatever they may be. Contact us for a free consultation today!

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