Have you been struggling to lose weight for months, maybe years, and aren’t able to get results? Have you ever considered how your sleep may be affecting your weight loss? Apart from the poor lifestyle choices you can make when sleep deprived, it is possible that there is a strong correlation between a lack of sleep and weight gain. At the University of Chicago, researchers found that after about four days of sleep deprivation, your insulin sensitivity will drop, at times by 30%. This means that your body can potentially start storing fat, and in the wrong places, leading to weight gain and metabolic imbalances.
Have you noticed that on days where you don’t sleep well, you tend to choose foods that you wouldn’t otherwise eat? Apart from chugging an extra latte or two, when we are tired, our decision-making skills aren’t as great meaning that weight gain is much easier at these times. Apart from willpower, our hunger is controlled by two hormones called leptin and ghrelin. Research has shown that when you sleep for less than six hours, your brain will start to increase your need for food based on the balance of these two hormones. Apart from feeling hungrier, you also tend to feel more stressed out without sleep which in turn increases another hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is associated with reward centers in your brain which will make you feel like you are constantly hungry, even when you should be full.
Sleep deprivation has been compared to being inebriated when it comes to how our brains work. There will be times where all you can imagine is climbing into your soft, cotton, comfy pjs but of course, you can’t. You will tend to make worse decisions, especially when it comes to eating and working out. It’s already so difficult to make it to most workouts, imagine trying to do that on only five hours of sleep! You may also start reaching for bigger portions when sleep deprived because your brain isn’t signalling your stomach that you are full in the same way it would when you’ve had enough sleep. All of these things combined mean that weight gain is much more likely when you haven’t gotten those 40 winks, or eight hours of sleep every night!
So, the next time you start researching your next diet, take a minute to understand how to sleep better and more. The starting point for this could well be a pair of Dandelion’s customized pjs! This may be all it takes to break that weight loss plateau.