Is There a Connection Between Sleep and Weight Gain?

by / / Tips

Feel like you need to lose a few pounds? You’re not alone. Over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and you don’t need to see yet another mail-order food commercial to know that just about everyone has an idea for a weight loss solution. However, shedding pounds may require more than eating right and exercise. In fact, your bed may in fact be one of your best weight loss tools. Check out Sleep Rite’s tips on how to get your sleep schedule back on track, enjoy more energy, and slim down.

The Triple Threat of Sleep Deprivation

The effect of poor sleep is a doozy. First, a lack of sleep slows down your metabolism. We each have our own internal rhythm and need different amounts of sleep. You probably already know the amount of shut-eye you need to feel your best. No matter your requirements, getting too little sleep makes it harder for your body to metabolize carbohydrates and can lead to blood sugar spikes.

Here’s the second problem that often becomes a bad habit: snacking and grazing. Sugary and fatty snacks are a quick fix for tiredness. We start feeling sleepy and grab a chocolate muffin or slurp down a frozen coffee loaded with added sugars. It’s an immediate dose of energy. Whatever could go wrong?

These extra snacks add up fast. Your average chocolate chip muffin has nearly 500 calories. Add just one of those to your plate a day and you’re looking at a weight gain of about pound a week. When you’re feeling hard-pressed to get enough sleep, trying to come up with a way to negate 500 calories a day sure doesn’t seem easy.

Hormones pack the final punch of this menacing trio. The duo ghrelin and leptin can be a definite friend or foe. Leptin helps you to regulate just how much to eat and how to know when to stop. On the other hand, ghrelin encourages you to chow down like no other. Too little sleep leads to high levels of ghrelin and you guessed it, low levels of leptin.

Just remember, this information isn’t an excuse to sleep the day away. Studies have shown that too much sleep can be detrimental and waist-widening as well. You have to be like Goldilocks; strive for a balanced approach.

The Best Practices for an Effective Sleep Schedule

It is possible to get your sleep schedule back on track. A handful of changes will have you feeling like yourself again in just a few days. The key is to be consistent and methodical. Note which strategies work best for you and stick with them!

Start by following these best practices:

  • Add exercise to your daily routine. It’s difficult to even think about physical activity when you’re feeling zapped. Start with 25 minutes of an activity you actually enjoy. You may end up feeling more refreshed than you would with an afternoon nap.
  • Keep dinner light. A heavy meal can lead to stomach upset and heartburn. A satiated stomach will keep you satisfied but comfortable through the night.
  • Cut down on screen time. Oops. That late night Facebook browsing isn’t doing you any favors. Light from electronic devices suppresses melatonin levels and leads to lighter, less effective sleep.
  • Keep a routine. Yes, sleeping in on the weekends is a luxury deserved by many. But overdoing it means you’ll have to start all over on Monday. Don’t deviate from your established routine by more than an hour or so.

Find Sleeping Success at Sleep Rite

To get the long-term results, seek professional guidance. We could all use a helping hand when it comes to managing our health. The team at Sleep Rite offers nutritional therapy services to improve your overall wellness and work with pre-existing conditions like obesity and heart disease. Reach out today to increase your energy, decrease your weight and improve your quality of life.