April 10, 2018 2 min read

Are you gaining weight or having trouble losing it? Although you may feel like you’re getting enough sleep each night, there’s a chance you might be missing out on quality sleep, without which sustainable weight loss becomes difficult. In fact, research suggests that by sleeping for just 30 minutes less than recommended per day, the risk of obesity increases. Asides from feeling sluggish, depleted of energy, and unmotivated to live a healthy lifestyle, lack of sleep has been scientifically proven to promote weight gain in the following ways.

The more sleep you’re missing out on, the higher the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Cortisol increases your appetite, and increases the likelihood you’ll reach for whatever is easy and what’s going to make you feel better in the short term.

Chances are if you’re overtired, you’re going to choose high-fat, high-carb foods that the body craves to produce serotonin, a hormone that calms you.To make matters worse, when you’re tired your body is less efficient at digesting and using sugar to produce energy.

Sleep deficit also interferes with hormones.It increases ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and increases appetite, and reduces the hormone leptin which signals satiety. One study showed that sleep deprived-participants consumed on average 300 additional calories in a day.

A lack of sleep can cause fat cells to be 30 percent less efficient at using insulin.This causes the sugar to stay in your blood thus increasing your blood sugar levels, which can make you ill and contribute to the development of diabetes.

Lack of sleep lowers inhibition to resist cravings and increases the tendency to overeat. A research study found that the longer you’re awake, the more likely it is that you’ll consume unnecessary calories in the form of late-night snacking.

The body holds onto weight when it’s overtired because it goes into survival mode. Sleep deprivation tricks the body into thinking it is endangered and it attempts to gain more fuel and maintain its resources by slowing down your metabolism, meaning you burn fewer calories.

A body running on insufficient sleep burns calories less efficiently at rest. Research showed that normal sleepers burned five percent more calories than those participants not getting enough sleep. Compared to sleep-deprived people, they also burned 20 percent more calories after a meal.  

There is no doubt that poor sleep habits are strongly linked to weight gain, but luckily, there are things you can do to make sure sleep doesn’t interfere with reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. Strive to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night and get up at a consistent time each day. Keeping a regular sleep routine boosts your health and is an essential part of any plan for effective weight management.

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