sleep and weight loss

The surprising connection between sleep and weight loss

There’s nothing better than getting a truly juicy night of sleep. If you’ve ever had sleep issues or insomnia, you know just how terrible you feel after a night of nocturnal suffering. Depression, anxiety, fatigue, and irritability — these are all outcomes of sleep deprivation. But did you know that chronic sleep loss can also disrupt your weight-loss goals?

A restorative and detoxifying night of sleep is conclusively linked to positive results when it comes to sustainably losing weight. If you fall into that category of sleep-deprived Americans, you’re not alone. Research shows one-third of us don’t get enough shut-eye.

Sleep, stress, and elevated cortisol

As you may know, chronic sleep deprivation translates to chronic stress. Stress can be defined as the perception of threat. This threat could be physical, psychological or emotional, and your biology responds accordingly. The stress response goes way back to our evolutionary history. When we’re in a low-grade constant state of stress, the hormone cortisol spikes dramatically, and inflammatory markers increase — a precursor to major disease processes.

The hormonal weight-loss connection

Restful sleep is by and large the most efficient way of detoxifying the body and mind. It also helps regulate hormones and decrease general inflammation. In fact, healthy sleep patterns influence every activity in the body. Unhealthy sleep patterns spike cortisol, which promotes weight gain, and lead to lower levels of leptin, a hormone closely linked to weight loss.

When cortisol rises, it tells your body conserve energy in order to function during the day, which in turn causes your body to retain fat. Leptin tells your brain when you’ve had enough to eat; when leptin is low, your brain thinks it needs to eat more. This cortisol-leptin imbalance is a surefire way to sabotage weight loss. Sleep issues lead to both overeating and weight gain. It’s a hormonal cocktail for disaster if you’re serious about maintaining a healthy weight. No wonder so many Americans have difficulty losing weight!

Sleep is essential for weight loss

As you can see, trying to lose weight while you’re chronically sleep deprived is an uphill battle. It’s important to address sleep issues if weight loss is your goal. It’s also necessary to address sleep issues in the name of chronic disease prevention.

Sleep tips

  • Keep a consistent schedule: Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and free of electronic devices
  • Use a white noise machine or fan to block out external noise
  • Sleep in a separate bedroom if your spouse snores or if you’re a light sleeper
  • Stop drinking liquids at least one hour before bedtime so nightly trips to the bathroom don’t disrupt your sleep
  • Drink a relaxing caffeine-free chamomile tea before bedtime
  • Place cotton balls with several drops of lavender essential oil next to your pillow
  • Invest in a high-quality mattress and pillow

Your sleep routine should be taken seriously. Do whatever you need to create a sleep sanctuary for yourself. Your weight loss goals depend on it!

Need help meeting your weight-loss goals? SmartFit offers personalized diet plans to help you look and feel your best! Contact us today for a FREE consultation!