We’ve all been there …
You have a cruddy night of sleep and the entire next day, you want to eat ALL the food.
And for some reason, you never actually feel full or satisfied.
Did you know that not getting enough sleep is one of the top reasons you could be having cravings?
Depending on what study you look at, between 1/3 and 1/2 of adults don’t get enough sleep.
This matters because your sleep affects two hormones that play a big role in your appetite AND metabolism.
Leptin tells your body when you’re full, and it also tells your body when to create energy (i.e., burn calories) to fuel your activities.
BUT…when you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have enough of it.
This makes your brain think you don’t have enough energy…which creates a signal to eat…PLUS another signal to store the calories you eat as backup for the energy shortage.
Ghrelin is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage.
Lack of sleep actually INCREASES ghrelin levels in your body.
The bottom line – Too much ghrelin can make you feel constantly hungry, so you eat more frequently.
And then, since you also have too little leptin, your body doesn’t recognize when it’s properly full, so you keep eating a greater and greater volume of food.
Too much food + too often + too little energy expenditure = a cycle of cravings, fat storage and weight gain.
It makes getting enough regular, quality sleep – 7-9 hours a night! – super important.
Tracking your sleep is a great idea. A sleep tracker like the ones on many fitness devices (like FitBit, Apple Watch, Whoop, etc.) will not just let you know how much you’re sleeping, but also the quality of sleep (light, deep, restless, etc.).
PLUS…knowing WHY you are having cravings is a big help in putting them in their place.
If you find that you are having cravings because you didn’t get enough sleep, here are a few things you can do to take action:
→ Make sure you eat enough protein, the most satiating nutrient. For best craving-crushing results, have a protein-rich food at every meal.
→ Keep hydrated. Urine should be pale yellow (totally clear isn’t necessary, but dark is not good).
→ Exercise regularly. Exerting energy helps promote deep sleep.
→ Go to bed early if at all possible! Create a Sleep Habit routine. You can get some ideas here.
If you need help with nutrition habits or exercising in a safe and effective way, book a Strategy Session to talk Custom Training or check out our BURN and BUILD Group Classes with a Free Week Trial.
Committed to your Success,
Jess & Team Valeo