sleep deprivation and weight loss - meme

The consequences of pervasive sleep deprivation and undiagnosed sleep disorders are collectively one of our biggest and most serious problems in this modern society.

In one study, subjects who had 6 hours of sleep at night for 2 weeks functioned at the same level of impairment as someone legally drunk.

Waking when the sun is up and going to bed when the sun is down is our natural biorhythm. Now with all the artificial stimulation such as, electronic devices, etc. our bodies get confused, thinking it is daytime.

How does lack of sleep affect your weight loss?

The circadian rhythm is a 24 hr. repeatable biological process which influences the wake cycle. This is set by the light entering the eye. When you are sleep deprived you are disrupting your sleep cycle. This affects the release of hormones, the body fat levels, the body’s temperature regulation, and your mood, among other functions.

This alteration of hormone release makes you overeat and pack on extra pounds. I am referring to your hunger and fullness hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin.

sleep deprivation and hungerGhrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin, so you will be inclined to eat more.

Leptin, on the other hand, tells your brain that you are full. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin levels drops around 15%, also telling your brain to eat more food.

Sleep deprivation also makes you store fat by impacting cortisol and your body’s response to insulin.

When your sleep is interrupted your body interprets that interruption as a stressor. Cortisol spikes, signaling your body to conserve energy in order to provide fuel for your body. When you don´t use that fuel (i.e. for exercise), it is stored as fat.cortisol spike

When you eat a lot of carbs, especially simple carbs like sugars, your body becomes less sensitive to insulin (insulin resistant), because it gets used to all those sugars. This results in increased insulin production as an attempt to keep your blood sugar stable.

That means that your body becomes less efficient at digesting carbs and absorbing nutrients, causing you to gain weight.

insulin resistant

These alterations in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity increase the risk of diabetes, which is a serious health problem and is way too common.

The lack of deep sleep also disrupts the release of growth hormones, which are the fundamental vitality hormones in your body. You need them to restore tissue.

Not getting enough sleep also causes:

  • Diminished willpower, increasing your carbohydrates cravings
  • Your decision making process gets influenced by fatigue causing you to make poor food decisions. You will grab whatever food is more available. You will prefer to open a box of cookies rather than spending the time preparing a healthy salad or sandwich
  • Your athletic performance is reduced
  • Your metabolism is slower
  • Your mood is impaired

Why you don´t sleep enough

  • Lack of sleep hygiene
  • Medical reasons can affect your sleep: Insomnia, depression, physical pain, etc.
  • Too much sitting: bad posture makes you a lot more fatigue at the end of the day
  • Lack of exercise: You are not tired enough to sleep
  • Too much stress and worry
  • Vitamin deficiencies like vitamin D and iron. They make you tired during the day and make it hard to sleep at night
  • You don´t think it is important: In this society we have learn that being busy and being on the go make us feel important. What we forget is that lack of sleep affects our productivity, creativity, mood, health, physical endurance and even our weight.

You can check here some ways to improve your sleep

Why do you wake up exhausted?

Normally, 1/4 of your sleep time is in a “dream sleep mood REM sleep”, which is when you actually have the so-called dreams. The rest of the time you are in recuperation sleep (slow wave sleep)

sleep cycle stages and weight loss

If this balance is disturbed, the brain and the body are not refreshed.
If more time is spent in the REM sleep, you will dream more intensely, but also you will be exhausted in the mornings because you won’t get enough deep recuperation sleep.

On the other hand, if you don´t get to the deep sleep stage, you won´t release growth hormone.  The growth hormone is responsible for the restoration of your body tissue so without enough, you have a more haggard appearance.  In other words, you will neither look or feel refreshed.

In summary:

Not getting enough sleep has far-reaching impacts that go way beyond simply feeling tired.  When you are sleep deprived not only do your muscles not restore adequately, but your hormones that signal hunger and fullness become out of balance.  This imbalance causes you to overeat.  Stronger food cravings and lack of willpower can really sabotage your weight loss efforts at this point.

It is important that you keep a night time routine, be consistent and that you sleep at least 7.5 hrs. at night. You can read here some easy ways to fall asleep

Please share with us your challenges when it comes to getting enough sleep, and how you deal with them.


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