What's the Deal With Sleep & Weight Loss?

Sleep has become the hot new thing in controlling weight, and for good reason. Sleeping is often consider a form of leisure or recover, but now it's considered super important for maintaining a healthy weight. Scientists have known for several years that sleep affects your appetite, but it's only in the past few years that the full scope of what sleep does to your body has come to light, and more is being discovered every year.

If you really want to stabilize your weight loss efforts, going to bed may be one of the best things you can do.

If You're Asleep, You're Not Eating

One of the less technical reasons sleep can help you lose or maintain weight is simple that if you're asleep, you're not eating. Granted, some people sleep-eat, but for most people, going to bed means not ingesting anything. If you're sleeping for several hours per night, that's less time you can eat compared to when you sleep only a couple of hours. While you could binge during your waking hours even if you get lots of sleep, you might not be able to eat all of the calories you would have on sleep-deprived days.

Better Regulation of Hormones and Appetite

Sleep is known to reduce the hormone leptin and increase the hormone ghrelin, two hormones that affect your appetite. Leptin makes you feel full (if you're missing leptin, your body thinks it's starving) and ghrelin makes you want to eat more. So those changes can really do a number on your attempts to control what you eat.

This goes beyond the urge to binge on pizza after an all-nighter. You're not just eating a little more to stay awake, you're eating a lot more over a longer period of time and getting calorie overload. Sleeping may reverse this hormonal trend.

Easier to Resist Temptation to Eat

Something that happens when you haven't had enough sleep is that you just don't feel as strong, mentally. You give into temptation a little more and don't pay attention to limits as much. That can really wreak havoc with serving sizes. As mentioned previously, if you're also not getting a lot of sleep, you're going to have more time in which to overeat.

Sleep isn't a magic bullet, of course; you still have to look at how much you're eating overall and what exercise you're getting. To learn more, contact resources that offer weight loss help.