Lack of Sleep Makes You Fat



Have you ever noticed that when you are short on sleep, it’s harder to control your food intake?

Maybe you eat the foods that you don’t normally, your resistance to white carbs is low, or it hard for you to stop eating in general.  It’s like you are a bottomless pit!

There is a good reason for that.  Lack of sleep has a direct link to stress, overeating and weight gain.  Here’s why.

There are two hormones that play a role in regulating the sensations of hunger and fullness….

The hormone ghrelin, stimulates the appetite.  The hormone leptin, sends signals to the brain when you are full.  (Remembering that my stomach “growls” with a “g”, to remind me that ghrelin is in charge there.)

When you don’t get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels stay high, so you feel like you never get enough food. Leptin doesn’t rise as it should, making it harder to be satisfied with what you are eating.  The more sleep you lack, the more food you will likely crave.

Being tired can also increase your stress level, making it more difficult to avoid emotional eating.

The best way to control your appetite and reduce food craving is to get enough sleep.  For most of us, that means at least 8 solid hours.  If you are a stress case or do a lot of physical activity, perhaps more.  But what if you find it hard to sleep?

Here’s some of my tips to help get your sleep hygiene in place.

  • Eat a light dinner, and make sure you have at least 3-4 hours of time before entering your sleep cave.
  • If you can avoid it, don’t drink alcohol if you want to sleep like a baby. Alcohol is not a nervous system depressant.  It is actually a stimulant. Notice the 3 – 4 am wake ups when you drink?
  • Eat foods with a higher magnesium content, like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, avocados and, or beans to help you relax.  Foods rich in B6 like wild fish, organ meats and chickpeas, boost levels of melatonin- a sleep inducing hormone.
  • Experiment with eating slightly higher carb at dinner-time if you don’t right now (include 1/2 – 1 cup sweet potatoes, potatoes, taro, quinoa or rice to your last meal).  If you eat more than that, experiment with cutting your carbs in half.  Try to find what’s right for you.
  • Drink no liquids at least 2 hours before sleep.  Make sure you are hydrated from morning until evening.
  • Dim your lights and say goodbye to TV and all electronics at least 2 hours before bed.
  • Make sure you get enough DAILY outdoor activity to let your brain know that night time is indeed night time.
  • No caffeine after 12:00 PM.  (chocolate counts!)
  • Dim your sleep room and wear an eye patch, and some earplugs (the ones that let you hear if an alarm goes off) if you can.  
  • Do some journal writing to get the lively conversations with yourself over and done with for the day.  Try meditating and or some yoga to get you ready for sleepyland.

If you want to learn more about your overcoming your sleep issues, or if you still have some stubborn sleep issues after trying the above tips, it may be a sign of an underlying hormone imbalance or pathogen.

Feel free to give me a call to discover some options for your best health.

Cat Dillon, Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness (760)274-4642



Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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