Sometimes in our lives we notice that for no apparent reason we seem to gain your weight, or maybe all of the sudden we feel hunger more often than normal for no apparent reason. No drastic changes have been made to our exercise routine or eating habits, yet weight still seems to pile up on us.
Weight gain is complicated and most often the result of the combination of various factors. Lack of sleep alone is not responsible for obesity, but it can be a helping factor to weight gain. There are many reasons why the lack of sleep may result in weight gain, one is because of the change it may have in the production and suppression of certain hormones that regulate our appetite.
Studies have shown that insufficient sleep can alters the levels of leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones involved in the regulation of appetite and body fat. Leptin is a hormone which signals the brain to stop feeling hungry, and ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger to the brain.
Another reason lack of sleep may be causing us to eat more and gain weight is because lack of sleep can also have an effect on cortisol. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism which can result in an increase in appetite. Studies have showed that during periods of lack of sleep, cortisol levels rise.
Besides all the biology behind lack of sleep and weight gain, there are more reasons of why lack of sleep may be causing you to gain weight. Simply put people who stay awake longer have more opportunities to eat. In addition to having more hours to eat, we are also less likely to take the time to prepare a healthy meal and tend to go for the fast option which most of the time tends to be high on calories.
Maybe you are trying to sleep more or maybe you work late night shifts and it is harder for you to get sleep. If you can’t avoid being up late and having to eat at late hours, here are some tips to help you stay healthy.
- Plan meals: This can not only help you have available a healthy food selection, but can help you improve meal timing. By doing this you can also help you avoid hurting your sleeping habit. Try to schedule your last big meal no closer than 2 hours from when you are planning to go to sleep.
- Buy or prepare your food in advance: If you need to eat at late hour, you can plan your healthy option so it is ready for you.
- Get engage: Give your self-something to do. Try to get regular breaks throughout the evening to relax, and/or refresh. Doing this can help take eating time away.
Getting enough sleep is a necessary step we can take in order to get a better eating habit, and to improve our health. Weight gain is only one of the many side effects of insufficient sleep, but it can lead to other health problems. More sleep will not automatically result in weight loss, but by getting sufficient sleep and creating a regular sleeping schedule will help you control your appetite and give you a healthier eating pattern.