Sleep and Weight Loss

When seeking weight loss treatment, many patients are surprised to learn that poor sleep may impede their weight loss journey. Lacking sleep affects the body in several ways, many of which contribute to weight gain. Getting a good night’s sleep will not only help you achieve your weight loss goals along with one of the latest bariatric procedures performed by our surgeon, Dr. Fernando Garcia, but you’ll also improve your health.

Sleep Loss Affects Decision Making

When you are sleep deprived, the brain responsible for decision-making and impulse control is affected like the way alcohol affects it. The effects of sleep deprivation make it difficult to control impulses and make good decisions. You may find it more difficult to make healthy food choices or say “no” to junk food when you are sleepy.

Poor Sleep Habits Increase Snacking

Studies suggest that people who get less than eight hours of sleep a night are more likely to give in to late-night snacking and choose snacks that are high in fat and carbohydrates. Other studies have suggested that those who get insufficient sleep are more likely to have higher food intake throughout the day. A lack of sleep may even increase cravings for foods that the body sees as energy-dense. Unfortunately, this often translates to cravings for foods high in carbohydrates.

Poor Sleep Increases Hunger Hormones

Not sleeping between seven to nine hours a night can impact the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness, making it difficult to lose weight. While we often think of appetite as a matter of stomach grumbling, neurotransmitters actually regulate appetite. When a person is sleep-deprived, the body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, the chemical that helps the body tell the brain when it is hungry.

Sleep deprivation also decreases the production of the hormone leptin. This hormone tells the brain when the body is full. Increased ghrelin levels and decreased leptin make many people more likely to feel hungry without sensing that they are full. Your body naturally increases and decreases the levels of neurotransmitters throughout the day, signaling the need to consume food. A lack of sleep may affect the body’s regulation of these neurotransmitters. This dysregulation can lead to increased hunger and diminished feelings of fullness.

Sleep deprivation also increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that helps the body conserve energy. Cortisol helps conserve energy by signaling the body to retain fat.

A Lack of Sleep Can Sabotage Your Diet

Even when people can stick to their diet and avoid junk food, a lack of sleep can still interfere with weight loss. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation impacts the body's ability to process insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for converting sugar and starches into energy. When insulin production is impacted, the body is not able to effectively process sugars in the blood. As a result, excess blood sugar is stored in the body as fat. Even with healthy eating, a lack of sleep can make your body process sugars differently, preventing weight loss and increasing weight gain.

How is Sleep Related to Physical Activity?

Losing sleep can result in having less energy for exercise. Feeling tired can make physical activity and exercise less safe. Getting regular exercise can improve sleep quality, especially if that exercise occurs in natural light. Engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week can improve daytime concentration and decrease sleepiness.

Tips for Getting Enough Sleep

Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night is essential for health and weight loss. Some ways to make sure you get a good night's sleep include:

  • Don't use your smartphone, computer, or TV an hour before bed
  • Stick to a schedule of going to sleep and waking up at the same time all days of the week
  • Avoid eating heavy meals that can cause heartburn too close to bedtime
  • Avoid drinking alcohol too close to bedtime as alcohol interferes with sleep
  • Don’t eat right before bed as eating late may reduce the success of weight loss attempts

Sleep and Weight Loss Summary

The link between sleep and weight loss is significant. Not getting enough sleep can impair your body's ability to heal itself and to respond to weight loss programs. We hope that the above guide will help you to make positive changes to your sleep patterns.

Schedule a Consultation

For more tips on how to lose weight along with information about bariatric surgery and how it can help you be healthier and fitter, contact the weight loss surgery specialists at Tijuana Bariatric Center today by calling 800-970-0577 to schedule a consultation. The team at our practice can help get you on the road to a healthier and happier new life.

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