More evidence that sleep loss can lead to weight gain.

2 minute read


Ever wondered why you’re gaining weight but not eating badly? You’re exercising but not seeing any results? Losing hope and giving up? Well there is a solution that is probably a lot simpler than you could have ever imagined.

Get more sleep.

Sounds like the best cure ever, right? Even as little as getting 30 minutes less than the required 8 hours for adults can significantly increase your risk of obesity and diabetes, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society national meeting.

We’ve all been there, what does one more episode on Netflix hurt? Well, you’re actually doing more damage to your body than you think, and there’s scientific evidence to back it up.

Sleep is essential for beyond just what’s going on in your brain. “Sleep is involved in the repair and restoration of the body. The rest that happens during sleep really rejuvenates your body for the next day,” says Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor. What you also don’t consider is how your body functions when you don’t get enough sleep and its reaction to certain aspects of your lifestyle.

For example, almost everyone is guilty of a couple of pieces of chocolate on a Friday night when you’re winding down from a busy week of work. Well I’m sorry to tell you that sleep deprivation prohibits the natural process of your body breaking down sweet stuff “When you’re sleep deprived, the mitochondria in your cells that digest fuel start to shut down. Sugar remains in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a sleep specialist. In fact, Brues contributes that the most important thing a person can do if they’re ready to start a diet and lose weight, is in-fact, sleep more.

it all makes sense doesn’t it? You don’t get enough sleep the night before, you lack energy the next day, and you probably will put for a run on the backburner, go home, relax, put on a film and order a pizza. This will eventually catch up on you. When our levels of physical activity decrease, but we’re still getting the same intake of calories, it results in weight gain. Which is a lot worse than just having a few dark circles under your eyes in a morning!

Further scientific evidence that contributes to these results suggests that “The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite,” says Breus. Have you ever noticed yourself the day after having a horrid night’s sleep, you don’t want to come home and cook a nice, healthy nutritious meal, do you? You look for the closest takeaway place and order yourself a big fatty-cholesterol-rising burger. Your motivation to eat healthy has diminished, and it’s all a result of not getting enough sleep!

Now you’re stressed cause you’re not exercising and you can’t sleep, this is when your body kicks in and tries coming to your rescue. According to Breus “When you’re stressed, your body tries to produce serotonin to calm you down. The easiest way to do that is by eating high-fat, high-carb foods that produce a neurochemical reaction”. So basically, when you’re stressed and you’re craving chips or a tub of ice-cream, that’s your bodies way of trying to make yourself feel better, that’s why they call it feel good food!

You’re probably wondering “how can I get more sleep when I’m so busy?”

Unfortunately, there’s no magic cure, but there are adjustments you can make to your sleeping habits that have proven to significantly improve many people’s quality and quantity of sleep. The most obvious, but the most beneficial is making sleep a priority. Once you understand that sleeping isn’t downtime, and you’re actually feeding your body just as you are when you eat, it will go a long way into improving the amount of time you actually sleep.

Another hotly advised tip is to avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive. You can minimise the impact by using devices with smaller screens, turning the brightness down.

Here at Ayurpothecary, we like to combine a number of factors to ensure we get a good nights sleep. For the tips that we think are most essential, you can read our 10 top tips for producing a better night’s sleep post.

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