Get Some Z’s
Get Some Z's
You’ve got your carb count in check and you’re adding daily movement to your schedule, but you may be overlooking one of the best things you can do to support your weight loss journey — sleep! Sleeping more to lose weight almost sounds like a “lose 10 pounds fast” gimmick, but sleep is extremely important. Getting enough shut-eye helps your body function at its best and makes it easier for you to make healthy choices, which can help you drop the extra weight.
Sleep deprivation affects your hormones, such as insulin, ghrelin, and leptin. An increase in ghrelin makes you feel hungry, even when you’ve already eaten an adequate meal. On the other side, leptin is produced in your fat cells and helps your stomach feel full. Having these hormones in balance can go a long way in helping you make healthy food choices and not feeling deprived.
However, studies have shown that a lack of sleep stimulates ghrelin production and decreases leptin, which results in you feeling hungry all the time. This hunger leads you to crave high-carb foods and eat bigger portion sizes because your body is looking for energy now, which ultimately sabotages your healthy eating goals.
The Insulin Factor
Not getting enough sleep also affects your body’s ability to use insulin efficiently. As a result, your body has to produce more insulin to control your blood sugar, which can lead to insulin resistance, increased fat storage, and metabolic disease. As keto'ers, we're very conscious of the effect high insulin has on the human body, and our low carb choices are centered around keeping our insulin stable. But making insulin-conscious food choices while skimping on sleep is like taking one step forward, but two steps back.
And these changes in how your body manages insulin can happen fast. A study from the University of Chicago found that insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30% after just four days of sleep deprivation! That's a clear sign that sleep should be at the top of your list when it comes to being healthy.
The Bottom Line
The CDC says that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Since you can see what kind of effect a lack of sleep has on your body, it’s important to make catching those z’s a priority. Studies say that most adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Not only will prioritizing sleep help with cravings and hunger, but it will also lead to having more energy to get in that daily physical activity. So start making it a point to get more sleep; and wake up to a better mood, better energy, and better health!
Tips for getting to bed early:
- Set a nighttime alarm to remind yourself when it’s time to get ready to hit the hay
- Help yourself wind down at night with a cup of caffeine-free tea or a warm bath
- Limit blue lights (from devices and TVs) for an hour before bed. Try replacing screen time with catching up on your favorite book or journaling!
- Refrain from reading or watching TV in bed. This will train your body to know that it's time to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to get your body used to your schedule