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Sleep and Weight Loss - Sleep your way to weight loss success!

By Paige Taksa, Nutrition Associate, Scientific Advisory Team - Herbal Magic Inc.

sleep your way to weight loss success

We live in a fast paced world and, at times, it might feel like we don't have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. Because of this, sleep often takes a back seat to the importance of other daily tasks. Staying up late and not making sleep a priority will not only impact your health in a negative way, but it could be one of the reasons why you struggle to lose weight.

Your lack of sleep may actually have a bigger impact on your waistline than you may realize. Optimal sleep is essential because sleep deprivation will only lead to weight gain.

Sleep and Hormones

When you lack sleep, the brain signals which are responsible for controlling the regulation of appetite are impacted. Lack of sleep triggers the release of specific appetite hormones that increase hunger and decrease satiety (the feeling of fullness). The major appetite controlling hormones responsible for this are as follows:

Hormone Action
  • Ghrelin is best known as the "hunger hormone." When this hormone is released it causes you to feel hungry. Ghrelin levels are increased before meals and are decreased after meals.
  • Leptin
  • Leptin is the "stop eating hormone" that tells your body it is full and helps you to feel satisfied. It is secreted after a meal to let you know that you are full and no longer need to consume any more food.
  • Cortisol
  • Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone." When you are stressed it increases the release of cortisol which will stimulate the appetite.
  • So how do these hormones lead to weight gain? When you lack sleep, there is an increase in the secretion of the hormone Ghrelin (hunger) and a decrease in the secretion of the hormone Leptin (stop eating). Additionally, with lack of sleep the body produces more of the Cortisol hormone which will also increase your appetite. With these factors combined (increasing your appetite and decreasing your full signals), it can make it difficult for you to ignore these hunger signals. When your body is constantly telling you it needs to eat, there is a much higher possibility that you will increase your food intake.

    In order for adults to keep hormone levels balanced, it is best to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

    Other Ways Lack of Sleep Impacts Weight:

    1. When we feel sleepy, we have the tendency to reach for something sweet to perk ourselves up. These sweet treats are usually not complementary to a weight loss plan and, over time, will send the scale in the wrong direction.
    2. When we lack sleep, it is common to crave carbohydrates. Giving in to these strong carbohydrate cravings increases the chances of exceeding the number of starch allotments which will interfere with weight loss success.
    3. The later we stay up the more time there is to snack, especially if there is not much else to do throughout the night.
    4. When we feel tired, we are less inclined to exercise or get in any physical activity. Instead, we spend our time sitting on the couch watching TV or browsing the internet. Lack of exercise will not help to expend additional calories.

    Does this mean if I sleep more I will lose more weight?

    Unfortunately, the answer is not exactly black and white. If you are consistently lacking in sleep then begin to attain more sleep it will make a difference to the way your hormones are secreted. This applies to individuals who go from sleeping 3 or 4 hours to 7 or 7.5 hours a night. However, if you are an individual who already gets 7 to 8 hours of sleep, sleeping an extra hour will not have the same effect, as you already achieve enough sleep to maintain your body's hormonal levels.

    Seven Steps to Better Sleep:

    1. Cut back on the afternoon cup of Joe. Caffeine too late in the day may keep you running longer than you might have anticipated. If you still need to fill that coffee craving, have a decaf or herbal tea instead.
    2. Exercise. Staying active has been found to improve sleep quality. Exercise not only helps with sleep but is also good for your heart and waistline.
    3. Soothe yourself before bed. Wind down and relax by listening to mellow music, reading a book or magazine, taking a bath, or practicing deep breathing.
    4. Set a consistent bed time. Schedule your daily tasks around this time to ensure you will be in bed when you plan to be. If you're able to, stick to a similar sleeping schedule on the weekends. It is also important to try to wake up at the same time everyday to get your body in a healthy pattern.
    5. Eliminate distractions. Distractions include lights, television, computers, noise, or bright clocks. Removing distractions will allow you to get a complete and undisturbed sleep.
    6. Ensure your bedroom is sleep-friendly. Sleep in a room that is dark and slightly cool, as a bedroom that is too hot or too cold can impact the quality of your sleep.
    7. Stay away from big meals at night. Dine earlier in the evening and avoid eating right before bed. If your body has to digest too much food at night, it takes away from your ability to have a good night's sleep.

    It is important to make sleep a priority, so schedule your sleep just like other tasks you schedule into your day. Sleep your way to weight loss success!

    Sleep and Herbal Magic Natural Health Products:

    Herbal Magic offers 2 Natural Health Products that will help you improve your sleep.

    Herbal Magic Product Benefits for Sleep
    Sleep Tea
  • Offers calming relief of restlessness and insomnia. Passionflower and lemon balm work together to promote relaxation and sleep while relieving mental stress.
  • Calme
  • Helps relieve nervousness and can be used as a sleep aid.

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