We all know that sleep is one of the most underrated ways to support immunity, hormones and brain health.
But do you know what else it supports? Metabolic health and weight management.
Now does it have your attention?
I got several questions after I shared in stories that it can affect hunger cues (and not only contribute to weight instability but sabotage efforts in and out of the gym), so I thought it deserved this post.
There is a direct connection between sleep and hunger hormones. Lack of adequate sleep creates an increase in grehlin (which tells us we are hungry) and a decrease in leptin (which controls appetite by sending fullness cues).
So even when we are adequately fed, our brains will tell us otherwise when we are in a sleep deficit. But that’s not all…
During times of stress (which is occurring when you aren’t sleeping enough), another hormone shows up; cortisol. A prolonged rise can lead to inflammation, less resiliency and cravings of processed foods (quick energy for your brain).
You can see how this cycle can pick up speed and become chronic when not managed appropriately.
A few quick tips to if you’re having trouble:
👉Get your room around 64F/18C - even open a window or use a fan to cool you.
👉If you must be exposed to screens, get those blue light blockers on. Exposing your eyes after dark makes your brain think you need to be awake. When that happens it will look for energy (read: hyperpalatable snacks).
👉Give yourself 2 hours from the time of your last meal before you crawl into bed. Not because there is some magic eating window, but because our bodies need energy to rebuild and repair while we sleep…and if there is food in our stomach, it will divert that energy to digestion, causing more restless sleep.
So if you’re someone struggling to understand why all your hard work isn’t showing up, I urge you to check your sleep habits. Then, keep a consistent schedule because there is no such thing as paying back the sleep bank!
Think you don’t have time for 7 hours? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate your schedule and create better boundaries.
It may not be a pill, but it sure feels like magic.