Do Sleepless Nights Prevent us from Losing Weight? Sleepless nights or sleep deprivation happens when you sleep fewer than 7 hours a night. It is also when you do not sleep well even if you are in bed for longer than 7 hours.
Insomnia is a reason why you may not be sleeping for at least 7 hours. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insomnia is when you are not able to fall asleep or stay asleep. So, you may be in bed for more than 7 hours and still have a sleepless night as a result of insomnia.
Sleep is very important when it comes to weight loss and overall health. Sleep is so important that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has contributed poor sleep to health issues such as:
- Weight gain
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
Sleep Is No Longer A Luxury; It Must Be A Priority.
Yet how many hours of sleep are you getting? It is recommended that you sleep at least 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep, not poor sleep. You may be a poor sleeper and here are signs that you may be one:
- Tossing and turning
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Hitting the snooze button
- Waking up tired
- Sleeping less than 7 hours
Women who sleep 5 hours or less gain more weight and are at a higher risk for obesity compared to those who sleep longer. Those who sleep 7 hours or longer are not as affected.
You may be wondering why is sleep so important to my weight? What happens when I don’t sleep well?
Sleepless Nights Cause Weight Gain In A Variety Of Ways
Caffeine and Stress:
First, when you do not sleep well, you are lacking the energy needed. You wake up tired and may grab that cup of coffee or black tea or energy drink to help you wake up. Depending on how tired you are you may drink more caffeine throughout the day.
- Caffeine is not just in coffee.
- It is found in:
- Black tea
- Energy drinks
Any foods that are flavored with chocolate or coffee
Caffeine naturally increases your levels of cortisol when you are not experiencing stress. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.
Cortisol is needed so that you and your body can properly function when under stress. But your body cannot tell if you are under stress because you are running from a lion or because you are 10 minutes late for work. Your body just knows you are stressed and releases the stress hormone cortisol.
Do you Drink Some Form of Caffeine When You are Stressed?
When we do this, we are increasing cortisol even more. In fact, when you are experiencing stress, even if it is mild, and drink caffeine it increases your levels of cortisol and it stays high longer.
How stressed are you? You do not need to be completely stressed out. Even low chronic stress can cause higher cortisol levels over a longer period and, as a result, weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
- High cortisol levels:
- Cause you to eat more
- Causes you to crave sugary fatty foods
Leptin, Ghrelin, and Sleep Deprivation
Leptin is a hormone that tells you that you do not need to eat. It has been called the satiety hormone, that is, it makes you feel satisfied and you do not need to eat more. When leptin is high you are not hungry.
Ghrelin is a hormone that does the opposite as it causes you to be hungry and it increases your appetite.
- When you lack good sleep
- Your levels of leptin are decreased
- Your levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is increased
- You are hungry
- You eat high-calorie foods
- You eat more food
It has been found that the “sweet spot” of how long you need to sleep to prevent these changes and weight gain is 7 hours or more. Sleepless nights do indeed cause weight gain. So those nights where you get less than 7 hours of good sleep are harming you and either causing you to gain weight or making it difficult to lose weight.
How Do you Sleep Well So you Do not Gain Weight?
- To alleviate stress and improve your quality of sleep.
- Journal before going to bed and write down any thoughts that are running in your head
- Settle into bed with a novel or spiritual book
- To alleviate back pain and get a better night’s rest:
- Place a pillow under your knees to help with lower back pain
- Hug a pillow to your chest to alleviate shoulder pain if you sleep on your side
- Another reason why many of you are not getting enough sleep is you are not falling asleep easily. The longer it takes to fall asleep, the more stressed you get, especially if you need to get up earlier the next day.
Sleepless nights or sleep deprivation happens when you sleep fewer than 7 hours a night. It is also when you do not sleep well even if you are in bed for longer than 7 hours. Insomnia is a reason why you may not be sleeping for at least 7 hours. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insomnia is when you are not able to fall asleep or stay asleep. So, you may be in bed for more than 7 hours and still have a sleepless night as a result of insomnia.