Among the factors that contribute to successful weight loss there are many that seem obvious: how many cookies you eat in a day, how hard you hit the treadmill, and others that you might not even consider. Sleep is one of those. Sleep debt can weaken the immune system, dull your focus, and cause you to snap at family and co-workers. But it can also reinforce the same negative habits that cause you to gain weight and keep it on.
Eating a large meal right before bed can cause indigestion and keep you awake, when you’d rather be getting your forty winks in. Many people who can’t sleep end up snacking and doing sedentary activities like watching TV or browsing the Internet. The next day, because you are tried from the night before, you’re less likely to make a nutritious meal and will more likely opt for the quick and easy option.
And it’s not hard to get into this same type of vicious cycle when it comes to exercise. One of the supreme benefits of exercise is that it seriously tires you out, so instead of tossing and turning half the night, , getting to sleep is no problem. But the reserve is also the case. If you don’t move much during the day, it becomes more difficult to fall asleep at night. And if you’ve had a rough night’s sleep, it becomes harder to motivate yourself to work out the next day either.
For those of you that are interested in getting more in depth with the science behind this phenomenon, there is a strong correlation between sleep deprivation, and the hormones that promote overeating. The hormones Leptin and Ghrelin work together to regulate appetite and eating behavior. Ghrelin indicates that you’re hungry, leptin tells you when you’re full. When you don’t get enough sleep, not only is less leptin produced, but more ghrelin is also produced, leading to overeating caused by both hormones. The takeaway point in all this: getting your eight hours in will not only make you feel happier and healthier, it’ll also help you to reach and maintain your goal weight.