You want to lose weight? Then sleep your way to skinny. It’s true. A good night’s sleep can aid you in losing weight.
Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. People who are sleep deprived tend to gain weight because it is in our sleep that our bodies repair themselves. Hormones are released to aid in the repair of our mind and body functions. A lack of good sleep interferes with these repairs.
Our bodies have an internal clock that tells us when it is time to sleep. When we wake up, with every hour that passes in our day, our bodies release an increase of a hormone called melatonin. This hormone reaches peak level in the evening, which at some point cues us that we need to sleep.
When we rise, our bodies produce a hormone, cortisol, which is our body’s signal to get up and go. As soon as I saw the word cortisol while researching the effects of sleep deprivation, I felt a kind of panic. I thought cortisol is a hormone that only creates fat around our bellies. This is true if we over produce cortisol.
In reality, cortisol serves our bodies in many wonderful ways. For instance, you know when you are reaching for that bag of M & Ms because you are depressed? That is caused from a lack of cortisol. Yeah, now we finally have something to blame our lack of will power on.
Depression, anxiety, anger for no real reason are symptoms of low cortisol levels. Cortisol also aids are reproductive cycles. High levels of cortisol can cause women’s periods to become erratic. Good levels of cortisol aid women in bearing children. High levels of cortisol cause weight gain (my levels must be off the charts). Low levels cause weight loss, fatigue, and too high or too low can cause muscle weakness.
Cushing’s and Addison’s disease are caused by too much or too little cortisol. Osteoporosis and arthritis are other diseases caused by too much cortisol. The body creating the right amount of cortisol can control these autoimmune diseases. And what helps produce the right amount of cortisol? A good night’s sleep.
People who are sleep deprived crave more carbohydrates. Also, being awake more hours of the day send cues to your brain to eat even when you really are not hungry. I am a prime example of this problem.
I average four and a half to five hours of sleep a night. At my age, my body requires at least seven or more hours of sleep. And when I sleep, I rarely sleep well. The first two hours I am dead to the world. After that, I become a much lighter sleeper. It is simply not enough quality sleep.
Not having enough sleep gives you more time to eat, and you will eat. A lack of sleep somehow creates the need to eat more carbs. Studies suggest sleep deprivation causes people to crave more carbs. My guess would be that this is because of the instant energy you feel when you eat carbs. Remember though, this quick energy leads to a big drop in blood sugar. Suddenly, during your day when you should be wide awake and raring to go, you find yourself sleepy and unable to keep your eyes open.
We need good sleep, the kind of sleep that transitions through our REM cycles, deep and fulfilling, nurturing our bodies to repair cells, and releases the good hormones that keep our bodies and minds healthy. Sleeping well energizes you and invigorates you. When you feel energized and invigorated, you are less likely to do mindless eating or binge eat. So you see, you can sleep your way to skinny.
Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty.
Tagged Control Cravings