Sleep really is at the core of our body’s functioning at their best!
Now I am not talking about just being tired and awake and how you feel. But all the systems and processes in your body that you do not see.

These systems and functions can affect your hunger cues, digestions, blood sugar control, which can cause cravings and impact your metabolism, brain function, immune function, hormone regulation, muscle and tissue repair.

So how can sleep affect your weight loss journey and overall health?

1. Lack of sleep can make you eat more!
Studies show lack of sleep can negatively. Meaning it causes you to literally eat more calories, specifically foods high in fat and sugar as your body is looking for energy and something to help it wake up because it did not get “charged” enough with sleep.

2. Impact on Hunger Hormones!
Not getting enough sleep can affect your hunger hormone levels. Ghrelin which makes you feel hungry and Leptin which helps signal your brain that you are full can be thrown off, making you eat more than you want to because you think you are still hungry and not satisfied or full. When you lack sleep your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin.

3. Poor quality sleep can increase your cortisol levels.
Cortisol is the hormone released during stressful times. Not getting enough sleep alone is stressful on the body. And you have to admit when you are low on sleep everything is just a little bit more stressful potentially causing more cortisol to be released. Cortisol can cause an increase in insulin and carb cravings. Again rolling down the cycle of increasing stomach fat gain if too many carbs are then eaten during this specific time.

4. Increased appetite!
Not only does your body crave higher fat and sugary foods when not getting enough sleep because it is looking for a quick energy source, but you literally just have a bigger appetite! All because of the lack of energy stores available and offset hormones! One study has even shown that those who were sleep deprived consumed an additional 385 calories a day, other studies have shown increases in food cravings, portion sizes, and fat intake.

5. Better sleep, Better Food Choices
Impaired sleep alters the way the brain makes decisions. This makes it more difficult to make healthy food choices and resist tempting foods. To top it off, the reward centers of the brain are stimulated by food even more when sleep deprived.

6. Going to bed early can prevent late-night snacking.
It may seem obvious but it is true. The later you stay up the larger the window for you to get hungry. Not to mention if you are tired and trying to stay up your body will probably start craving food just to stay awake!

7. Metabolic Health
Getting enough sleep can actually help keep your metabolism higher! Studies have shown that your body's resting metabolic rate, basically its baseline calorie burn, actually decreases when sleep deprived. The good news is that it goes back to normal once you “catch-up” on sleep.

8. Decreased Fat Breakdown! And Increased Muscle Breakdown!
Lack of sleep also impairs your body's ability to burn fat! Instead it burns more carbs and breaks down muscle for energy.

We can go on with how lack of sleep impacts your body and overall health and goals! So how is your sleep? Sleep is at the core of many health and fitness goals so do not push it off when creating your plan as it should probably be the first improvement you make!
February 07, 2023 — Bianca Shah