How is Sleep Important for Weight Loss?

How is Sleep Important for Weight Loss?

man-909049_1920We all know it’s important to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but in the United States 40% of adults don’t get the recommended amount. Sleep is even more important if you’re trying to lose weight. Here are a number of reasons why you’ll want to hit the hay earlier if you’re trying to lose weight but getting less than 7 hours a night.

Ghrelin– this is sometimes referred to as a “hunger hormone.” It sends a signal to the brain that it’s time to eat. The less you sleep, the more Ghrelin your body produces, thus making you feel more hungry, more often.

Leptin– this is another hunger hormone that sends the signal to your brain that you are full. Without an adequate amount of sleep leptin levels drop. This signals your brain to eat more food while desensitizing your feeling of fullness.

Cortisol– this is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because excess cortisol is secreted during times of high physical or psychological stress. This hormone signals the body to store fat, specifically abdominal fat which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Research shows that loss of sleeps causes an elevation in cortisol levels.

You’ll Burn More Calories– A recent study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “normal sleepers” burned 5% more calories at rest and 20% more calories after a meal than those who were sleep deprived.

Increased Cravings– Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase cravings for high sugar and high carbohydrate foods. Excess sugar and carbohydrates that aren’t burned off are stored as fat.

Decreased Exercise– It’s hard to burn off those excess sugars and carbs when you only slept 5 hours the night before. Even if you are able to drag yourself to the gym, your performance will be affected. Sleep deprivation can also affect coordination which puts you at risk for injury.

Stops Late Night Snacking– It’s hard to consume extra calories at night if you’re sleeping. The longer you stay awake the longer it will be since your last meal, eventually signaling hunger. People often snack out of boredom late at night when they are less active and less likely to burn off the extra calories. These extra calories are then stored in the fat cells.


5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

1.) Turn off your cell phone, computer and TV an hour before you go to bed. These devices all have a higher concentration of blue light which affects the levels of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Turn down the lights in the room as well. Darkness cues the release of melatonin.

2.) Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can stay in the system for 5-6 hours so don’t drink any after 2pm. When alcohol starts to wear off, your body comes out of a deep sleep and goes into a state that is much easier to wake from. This is why you sometimes wake after a few hours of sleep if you had a couple drinks before bed.

3.) Get more exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 150 minutes of moderate activity a week showed a 65% improvement in sleep quality.

4.) Start your bedtime routine at the same time each day. This will help condition your body to fall asleep faster by creating a sleep habit and setting your circadian rhythm.

5.) Turn down your thermostat. The ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees. The lower room temperature will lower your core body temperature and help you fall asleep faster.

To help you relax, try one of these drinks before going to sleep.

Bedtime Chamomile Latte

1 chamomile tea bag

boiling water

1 tsp honey  (Manuka is best!)

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

2-3 drops vanilla extract

1.) Fill a mug halfway with boiling water. Steep your chamomile tea bag in the hot water for 2-3 minutes.

2.) Meanwhile, heat the almond milk on the stove or in the microwave. Add in the vanilla.

3.) Using a small immersion blender or milk frother, beat the milk until frothy, about 2-3 minutes. Immediately pour over your chamomile tea. (If you don’t want froth, just mix the vanilla into the hot almond milk & then pour over your tea.)

4.) Sweeten with honey, if desired.

Golden Milk

2 cups coconut milk, unsweetened

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1″ piece of ginger sliced, if desired

honey to sweeten, if desired

1.) In a saucepan add all ingredients (except honey, if using) and whisk to combine.

2.) Heat over medium heat until it starts to boil.

3.) Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

4.) Strain out the ginger, if used.

5.) Add honey, stir and enjoy!

Lavender Tea

2 tbsps of dried lavender flowers

2 cups boiling water

1 tsp of honey

1 tbsp or organic lemon juice

1.) Pour the boiling water over the dried flowers.

2.) Allow to steep for 5 minutes.

3.) Strain when ready to drink.

4.) Add the honey and lemon juice, stir and enjoy!

At Olivera Weight Loss we strive to help you achieve your weight loss goals.  We offer an Integrative Program, a Primary Program, Individualized Nutrition Consultations, Lose It (an 8-week program to kick-start your weight loss) as well as other services.  Please visit our website for more detailed information and  pricing.  You can also send us a message or call us today at 773-327-6624.


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