Sleep for Weight Loss

How Sleep Affects Weight Loss More Than You Think

According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, dieters that were getting adequate sleep (7+hours per night) were losing body fat, not muscle mass. Dieters that were not getting adequate sleep experienced 55% less fat loss than dieters getting adequate sleep.

The whole concept of over eating is much more chemical than you may think. Choosing not to eat in excess is not always as simple as mind over matter. Especially, if your mind and body is tired.

So how does lack of sleep affect weight loss? Let’s dive in!

You have two major hormones that affect hunger. They are Ghrelin and Leptin. These hormones are also majorly affected by the amount of sleep you get.

  • Ghrelin (The Hunger Hormone)
    • This is a hormone produced in your gut
    • Ghrelin stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. Additionally, it reduces your metabolic rate.
    • Not enough sleep will cause your body to increase your ghrelin hormone and decrease the leptin hormone.
      • therefore, your body will continue to tell you you’re hungry, even if you’ve eaten “enough”
  • Leptin (Satiety hormone or starvation hormone)
    • Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells
    • Leptin tells your brain that you’re full
    • When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces less leptin

Additionally, cortisol levels are affected by sleep.

  • Cortisol (the primary stress hormone)
    • When you don’t have adequate sleep your cortisol levels rise.
      • When your cortisol levels rise it signals the reward centers in your brain which, in turn will make you want to eat more food.
      • Cortisol can also inhibit the breakdown of fat for energy and increase the breakdown of muscle

In addition to your hormones being affected by lack of sleep, your brain becomes less resistant to the temptation of excess calories.

  • A lack of sleep will impair activity in a section of your frontal lobe which controls food-related decision making.
    • Less sleep=desire for more food=weight gain.

Dr. Seltzer recommends that his patients set a goal of at least 7 hours of restful sleep per night to help promote fat loss and increase the satiety hormone leptin. So if you’re trying to lose weight, adding a few more hours of sleep may aid your weight loss plan.
-Nicole Spaulding FNS, CPT

Do you have more questions about this blog post or Dr. Charlie Seltzer’s weight loss program? Contact Us, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. 

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