When it comes to weight loss, it’s not just about what we eat and how much we exercise. It’s not even the combination of the two. Nutrition and movement are just two pieces of a much larger puzzle. One piece which tends to be overlooked, and has the most impact on our ability to lose or maintain our weight, is sleep. Sleep is not a luxury, but a fundamental necessity for our bodies to properly function, and this includes your metabolism.
Here is what happens to your hormones when we do not get enough sleep, and how it relates to weight loss.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, goes up. When cortisol goes up, our metabolism slows down. Cortisol also signals our blood sugar to increase. When cortisol is high, our bodies stop burning fat, and start burning muscle.
Leptin, the satiety hormone, goes down. When leptin goes down, it takes a lot more food for us to feel full. On a day after you did not sleep well, you may inject 500 more calories compared to a day after a good night’s sleep.
Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, goes up. Ghrelin signals our body that we need more quick fix energy. On a day following a poor night’s sleep, our bodies crave more sugar, carbs and processed foods.
Why does this happen? These physiological responses are based on our evolutionary needs for survival. While we can not control our body’s hormonal response to sleep, we can control how well we sleep. Our “sleep hygiene” starts from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed. Curious if you have good sleep hygiene? You can book a free complimentary sleep assessment here. It’s only 30 minutes. You will walk away with new habits for improved sleep, and hence improved weight management.