You may want to take a second look at your sleeping pattern with regards to your weight loss goals. Recent research has found that a lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to control what you eat.
According to the American Journal of Nutrition, when an individual is overly tired their brain shifts into “reward mode”; increasing carbohydrate cravings and decreasing the ability to control these impulsive cravings. Moreover, the study found that these individuals were more likely to eat larger portions.
In addition, research has found that insufficient sleep can muddle your hunger and fullness hormones; ghrenlin and leptin. Ghrenlin tells your brain that it’s time to eat and leptin tells the brain when you are full. When we are sleep deprived, your body makes more ghrenlin and significantly decreases your leptin levels resulting in an eating frenzy. To add to this, your cortisol levels increase, signalling your body to conserve energy or, in other words, store fat.
Here are seven tips to avoid a lack of sleep and aid your weight-loss goals:
- Stick to a sleep routine, even on weekends. This regulates your body’s clock which could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for a healthy seven to nine hours.
- Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. A routine activity away from harsh lights and things that may raise your anxiety, excitement and stress levels can help you sleep deeper.
- Avoid afternoon naps. If you have trouble sleeping, having a siesta could hinder your ability to fall asleep at night.
- Re-evaluate your bedroom. Make sure your bedroom is cool, free from noise, light and other distractions (including your partners snoring!). Consider using darker curtains, earplugs, fans and eyeshades.
- Check your mattress and pillows. A mattress has a life-expectancy of about nine or 10 years. Make sure your mattress is supportive and your pillows are soft so that sleep feels inviting.
- Avoid things that may cause discomfort. Spicy meals, big meals, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes can make it difficult to fall asleep. Try to eat at least two to three hours before bedtime and, if you are still hungry, have a light snack 45 minutes before you sleep.
- Manage stress. Go for an afternoon run or workout to burn off some steam or try writing your worries on paper and set it aside for the next day.