Thursday, 26 July 2018

Is sleep impacting on your weight loss?

How much sleep to you get?  Somehow, somewhere along the line, we have come to view sleep as an optional extra.  We boost that we ‘get by’ on 5 hours or some such number.  For years that’s what I have done. 

The latest research ‘Why we Sleep’ by Matthew Walker, tells us very clearly that insufficient sleep is catastrophic for all sorts of reasons. 

There is a long list of dangers associated with too little sleep:

·         Increased risk of cancer

·         Increased risk of sports injury

·         Increased risk of Alzheimers

·         Increased risk of diabetes

·         Increased risk of stroke and heart disease

·         Increased risk of immune deficiency

·         Increased risk of a number of mental health problems

·         Weight gain

It’s the last one that we are focussing on today.

Leptin and Ghrelin are two hormones that together work to control and regulate food intake.

Leptin lets you know when you are full and Ghrelin triggers a sensation of hunger. 

Research has shown (proper research, under controlled circumstances by Van Cauter at the University of Chicago) that people who have only four to five hours of sleep opportunity a night have higher levels  of Ghrelin and lower levels of Leptin than those who had eight hours of sleep opportunity.  Sleep opportunity means time in bed, dark, cool room, no screens.  This means that sleep deprived people crave food and really struggle to feel full (sound familiar?). 

So, you can cut the calories but without adequate sleep you will really struggle to lose weight.  So, cut the caffeine, drop the alcohol and get to bed.  Make sleep a priority, not an optional extra – I guarantee you’ll feel better.