When seeking weight loss treatment, many patients are surprised to learn that lack of sleep may be impeding their weight loss journey. Being short on sleep affects the body in a number of ways, many of which contribute to weight gain. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the link between sleep and weight loss. Contact our bariatric center in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, MX for more information on sleep and weight loss or to find out which treatments may be right for you.
A Lack of Sleep Affects Decision Making
One of the ways in which a lack of sleep can make it difficult to lose weight is how sleep loss affects the brain. Lack of sleep impacts the area of the brain responsible for decision making and impulse control, similar to how alcohol affects the brain.
Since a lack of sleep makes it difficult to control impulses and make good decisions, it can be more difficult to make healthy choices when eating or saying “no” to junk food.
Poor Sleep Habits Increase Snacking
Studies suggest that people who get less than eight hours of sleep a night are more likely to give in to late-night snacking and choose snacks that are high in fat and carbohydrates. Other studies have suggested that those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to eat bigger portions of food throughout the day. A lack of sleep may even increase cravings for foods that the body sees as energy-dense. Unfortunately, this often translates to cravings for foods high in carbohydrates.
Sleep Increases Hunger Hormones
Not getting between seven to nine hours of sleep every night can impact the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness, making it difficult to lose weight. When a person is sleep-deprived, the body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, the chemical that helps the body tell the brain when it is hungry. Sleep deprivation also decreases the production of the hormone leptin. This hormone tells the brain when the body is full. Combine an increase of ghrelin with a decrease of leptin, and you are more likely to feel hungrier without sensing that you are full than when you are well rested.
Sleep deprivation also increases production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps the body conserve energy when you do not get enough sleep for use when you are awake. The way cortisol helps conserve energy is by signally the body to retain fat.
A Lack of Sleep Can Sabotage Your Diet
Even when people are able to stick to their diet and avoid junk food, a lack of sleep can still interfere with weight loss. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation impacts the body’s ability to process insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for converting sugar and starches into energy. When insulin production is impacted, the body is not able to effectively process sugars in the blood. As a result, excess blood sugar is stored in the body as fat. Even with healthy eating, a lack of sleep can make your body process sugars differently, preventing weight loss and increasing weight gain.
Tips for Getting Enough Sleep
- Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night is essential for health and weight loss. Some ways to make sure you get a good night’s sleep include:
Don’t use your smartphone, computer, or TV an hour before bed
- Stick to a schedule of going to sleep and waking up at the same time all days of the week
- Avoid eating heavy meals that can cause heartburn too close to bedtime
- Avoid drinking alcohol too close to bedtime as alcohol interferes with sleep
Schedule a Consultation
For more tips to help you lose weight, or to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you, we welcome you to contact our staff to schedule a consultation.