Could your sleep patterns be affecting your weight?

Health, Science

You seem to be doing everything right, eating healthily hitting the gym but those pounds start creeping up. The alarm is on every morning to make sure that you get to your spin class in time as you fight through exhaustion in a battle of wills to get your workout done rather than staying under the covers for an extra 40 winks.

To lose out on sleep for the odd night is ok but did you know that if you are missing out on sleep regularly then it can do damage to more than just your weight balance. Here are the facts on how those late nights affect your overall well-being and how to plan to make sure you are getting enough sleep to shed the pounds and keep you in the best health.

A recent study showed that just getting 30 minutes too little sleep each night can increase your risk of obesity and diabetes.  Sleep is vital for repair and restoration to rejuvenate our body for the next day, hence the term ‘beauty sleep’.  When we don’t get enough our cognitive function is impaired and whether it’s decision making, reaction time or memory, they all start to suffer.

Tiredness causes the body to release a hormone called ghrelin, the hunger hormone and reduces leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’ve eaten enough.

Have you ever noticed how you just don’t seem to get full when you’re tired, a study showed that sleep-deprived participants ate on average 300 more calories per day.

Over the course of a week, another study showed that those that slept for 4-5 hours rather than 10 hours gained an extra 2 lbs in weight over the 7 days.

With less sleep, the body goes into stress mode and releases cortisol which also increases the appetite, the body triggers the need for serotonin to reduce the tension.  The easiest way to raise serotonin levels is from high fat and carb-loaded foods, so it’s easy to see why you might want to raid the biscuit tin.

Sleep deprivation slows down our cells ability to process sugar, elevating blood sugar levels, long term effects of this can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep really is your body’s best friend so if you go to bed late don’t set your clock to get up early for that morning exercise session, it will only prove to be counterproductive.  If you are lacking sleep the last thing your body wants to do is a hard session at the gym. Tiredness can trigger the body to protect itself into preserving resources and storing fuel meaning that you might not be burning calories while you exercise but conserving them as your body will be in the least receptive mode for push-ups and running.

So how do you get good sleeping habits?

Seven and a half hours sleep is a good rule to adopt, so decide what time you want to be awake and work backwards.  If it’s 6.00 am then time to be in bed by 10.30, it’s good to start your bedtime routine early.  Cleanse your face a couple of hours before so you’re not too tired to remove makeup.  Take a warm bath, switch off the television or computer an hour before and read a book or do some yoga.

Allow your mind some time to calm down, if something pops into your head then make a note and forget about it until tomorrow.

Be consistent and allow your body to re-set and over the weeks you will literally see the pounds start to melt away while you slumber. If you are looking to lose a little weight, check out our 6-week healthy eating Re-set program to help energy levels, blood sugar and assist with a healthy metabolism.  You can find it by logging in to your personal account, here on the website and downloading it, it also comes free in paperback with every purchase from our well being range.