Weight Loss and Sleep Deprivation – Is There a Connection?

How can sleep deprivation affect weight loss? Surely the reverse is true! If we’re tossing and turning all night, aren’t we burning a few more kilojoules?

Perhaps, but it’s more complicated than that. When we don’t have enough sleep, our energy is very low. This can trick the brain into thinking it requires more food to replenish our energy stores.

So we tend to eat more. Not only that we tend to crave high energy foods such as ice cream, cakes or sugar laden soft drinks.

To make matters worse, the effects of sleep deprivation can lessen the body’s ability to process glucose efficiently leading to an increased tendency to put on weight. This could also lead to an increased risk of diabetes.

Lack of sleep also produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower the metabolic rate which means we burn less kilojoules.

A simple way to increase the metabolic rate is to exercise every day. But we don’t feel like exercising when we’re tired do we? No, a seat in front of the telly is far more appealing, preferably with our favourite comfort food!

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So if we’re trying to lose weight or simply maintain our weight, the amount of sleep we have is super important. Sometimes all we need to do is increase our awareness.

First here’s what not to do. Don’t nap for long periods during the day. This will upset your natural circadian rhythm and lead to wakefulness at night.

Late night snacks? The body simply can’t digest these and they will be laid down as fat! If you must eat late make it a lite yoghurt, herbal tea or milky drink. Forget the coffee and black tea as these contain stimulants.

Here’s a few tips:

Increase your exercise. This can be done without enrolling at the gym! Simply walk more. Get of the bus one stop earlier and walk the remaining distance. Take the stairs instead of the lift.

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If the above is not for you, go shopping! Large shopping centres are wonderful walking tracks. Have a look in the stores as you sail past (stay away from food stores though!)

Taking more exercise increases the metabolic rate significantly and enables us to have better sleep at night. It is also proven to reduce stress which is the enemy of restful sleep.

Plan your day better. Start winding down in the evenings and use the mornings for energetic chores. This will enable you to relax better and you’ll fall asleep quicker.

If you have a sleep problem, get help. There are web-sites and books that will increase your knowledge on safe and natural ways to get a good night’s sleep.

So don’t help your body to put on weight through poor sleeping habits. Eat healthy foods, get rid of stress, exercise more and sleep your weight away!

Copyright 2005 Wendy Owen


by Wendy Owen