Losing Sleep Means Gaining Weight

Mindful Living Network, Mindful Living, Dr. Kathleen Hall, The Stress Institute, OurMLN.com, MLN, Alter Your Life, sleep deprivation, lack of sleep causes, how to get better sleep

Have you been having trouble losing those last 10 pounds? Sometimes exercising and cutting back on unhealthy food isn’t enough. Sleep deprivation can affect your health. In fact, lack of sleep causes weight gain.

Sleep and Weight Gain

Research shows that lack of sleep causes obesity. In a report from the University of Colorado Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory, the participants slept five hours every night for five nights. Though the participants burned more calories while sleep deprived, they consumed more than average amounts of carbohydrates and fat. In one week the participants gained nearly two pounds.

So how does sleep deprivation cause weight gain? Sleep deprivation “leads to psychological changes in the brain and behavioral changes that lead people to eat more.” Specifically, it affects two hormones: ghrelin and leptin. Sleep deprivation boosts ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite, and reduces leptin, which suppresses your appetite. In fact, in other sleep studies, researchers found that people who slept five hours or less per night had higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin than those who slept eight hours per night.

How to Get Better Sleep

Do you want to get more sleep and lose weight? Listed below are Mindful tips for more restful nights.

  1. Start the day with exercise. A morning workout is great for your overall health, but it’s also great for insomnia as well. Daily exercise can give you an energy boost in the morning, but that exertion can cause you to feel tired by nightfall. So consider having a morning run before work or going for a walk during your lunch break.
  2. Cut out the stimulants. One way to ensure that you rest well through the night is by taking more care of what you eat and drink. It can take hours (nearly six hours) for the stimulating effects of caffeine to dissipate from your body. So be careful to reduce the amount of caffeine (and alcohol) you consume at night.
  3. Schedules and routines. Consider keeping a consistent bedtime schedule. Going to bed at the same time every night can help you fall asleep easier. Also, consider creating a bedtime ritual. Try turning off all your technology devices an hour before bed, relaxing in a warm bath, or lowering the lights to let your eyes adjust and get ready for sleep. If you do it consistently you’ll be able to relax and wind down; thus, helping you get to sleep faster.
  4. Meditation sessions. Before you go to sleep try lying in your bed and doing a few relaxation techniques. Take deep breaths, do a few yoga stretches, or try meditating. This will help your brain to slow down and prepare for sleep.