A deficiency in sleep causes an imbalance in your hormones such as Leptin, Ghrelin, Insulin, Growth Hormone & Cortisol. These out of balance hormones wreak chaos with your appetite and metabolism.
Dr Michael J Breus, a Clinical Psychologist & Board Certified Sleep Specialist writes:
When you sleep less, you take in more calories. This can happen for several reasons related to your hormones.
- Changes in your glucose metabolism brought on by sleep deprivation will cause your body to hoard the calories you consume, storing them as fat rather than burning them for energy.
- Low sleep causes your body to produce more of the stress-hormone cortisol, which in turn spurs your appetite.
- And let’s not overlook the basic reality that when you sleep less, you simply have more time to eat! Late night snacking can seriously undermine an otherwise healthy diet & exercise regimen.
When you sleep less, you burn fewer calories and burn less fat. Your body burns more calories in REM sleep than at any other stage of sleep.
Now, lets delve a little deeper into those troublesome hormones.
Leptin and Ghrelin
Leptin and ghrelin are 2 hormones that play an important role in stimulating and suppressing your appetite are. Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells and is responsible for suppressing hunger. Ghrelin is released by your stomach, and stimulates your appetite. Lack of sleep lowers the levels of leptin in your blood and heightens the levels of ghrelin, which results in an increase of appetite. The reverse is also true: getting enough sleep decreases hunger and will therefore help you lose weight.
During sleep, your pituitary gland secretes more growth hormones than during your waking hours. Growth hormones stimulate cell regeneration, reproduction and growth. These hormones are also known to aid you in building muscles. This is why higher levels of growth hormones means a heightened metabolism. With a higher metabolism, you burn energy much faster which leads to easier weight loss.
Getting eight hours of sleep at night helps you lower the cortisol levels in your blood, while lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels. Higher levels of cortisol lead to a lower metabolism. Breaking protein down into glucose is stimulated by cortisol. If you have too much glucose in your body, it will get stored as fat. On top of this, cortisol interferes with your body’s ability to build muscle mass. If you are trying to lose weight, you want to make sure that you have low cortisol levels in your blood. Getting enough sleep helps you do just that.
Rest and Recovery
Exercising regularly is a great way to improve your fitness and shed some pounds. When you exercise, you tire your body and actually inflict small injuries to your muscles. To improve your performance, you have to allow your body to heal. During sleep, your body recuperates the quickest. When you do not sleep enough, you will stay fatigued and your performance level will drop. Sleeping enough will allow your body to rest, recover and grow stronger.
Sleep is a crucial factor in losing weight. Sleep suppresses your appetite and raises your metabolism, while allowing your body to rest and recover. So aside from leading an active lifestyle and maintaining a balanced diet, you should also make sure that you get your full eight hours of shuteye every night.