The Importance Of Sleep For Your Hormones And Weight Loss
If you are suffering from the inability to sleep, or just short-changing yourself on the amount of hours you get to rest per night, then you could be doing yourself more damage than you think, especially to your weight control. Lack of sleep can affect various hormones in your body that have a huge impact on how hungry you are, how much fat your store, and what kind of food you reach for when you are hungry. If you are trying to maintain or reach a healthy weight, the importance of sleep for your hormones cannot be overlooked.
What Hormones Are Affected By Lack Of Sleep?
Research has shown that when you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels can decrease. Leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone that sends a message to your brain when you are full. Without it working properly, you can be prone to reach for unhealthy foods and overeat, which can cause weight gain. Moreover, because weight gain can cause leptin resistance, you can set yourself up for more weight gain in the near future.
Research has also shown that when you don’t get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels can rise. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite. It may interest you to know that this hormone can be affected after only a short period. In fact, one study done by the Department of Internal Medicine in the University of Luebeck, found that ghrelin levels were elevated after just one night of sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation can also affect the hormone cortisol, the stress hormone. This hormone responds to stress and helps us to avoid illness. Consistent problems with sleep have a negative impact on cortisol and can raise cortisol levels in the body. High cortisol levels are known to cause belly fat, increase cravings for unhealthy foods, cause backaches and headaches, decrease sex drive, increase gastrointestinal issues, cause anxiety, and alter mood, all of which can affect eating habits and fat storage.
“After sleep deprivation, subjects in several studies had higher levels of cortisol later in the day, a time when it should be tapering off to prepare the body for rest.” – Scientific American
Lack Of Sleep Goes Beyond Weight Issues
Of course, weight issues themselves can cause a whole host of other problems in the body. Moreover, lack of sleep can also cause other issues that may influence hormones in their own way.
For instance, there is a lot of existing literature on how sleep deprivation can affect attention and memory in a negative way. When cognitive issues arise, stress can also arise, and more cortisol can be released in response to that stress.
In the end, it is important to remember that your hormones have a huge influence in every aspect of your health. They are chemical messengers that travel around your body to every tissue and organ, so ensuring that you are taking care of your hormones by getting enough sleep is very important. Besides weight gain, chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with many illnesses, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attack, osteoporosis, and diabetes.