What’s one thing you do every single day that has a big effect on your body, leading to weight gain? It’s something most of us have struggled with at some point in our lives. And for many of us, it’s getting worse.
The answer is sleep. Or more accurately, not getting enough sleep. And that’s the problem.
Why lack of sleep causes you to gain weight
Sleep deprivation causes changes to hormones that regulate hunger. The hormone leptin suppresses appetite and encourages the body to expend energy. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin. The hormone ghrelin, on the other hand, triggers feelings of hunger—and ghrelin goes up when you’re short on sleep.
Sleep deprivation also changes what foods you crave. Lack of sleep can create intense cravings for fat, carbs, and sugary foods. When your brain is low on sleep, it’s hard to make good decision about what to eat. You are more likely to be impulsive and give in to junk-food cravings.
How you can get more and better sleep
We know you’re busy. We get it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. But even with a full schedule, there are things you can do to get more and better quality sleep.
Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day. If you get a break at work, go outside into the sunshine when possible.
Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV can disrupt sleep. You can minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens and turning the brightness down.
Don’t watch late-night television. Not only does the light from a TV suppress melatonin, but many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead.
Create a regular sleep cycle – Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
Walk or exercise 20 minutes every day. At PTF we promote walking 20 minutes every day. In addition to weight loss benefits, it can improve your sleep. The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise, such as walking, improves sleep quality.
Cut back on sugary foods and bad carbs. Eating lots of sugar and bad carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can trigger wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
Get on the PTF program. We hear from a lot of our customers that once they get on the Personal Trainer Food program they sleep better. So get some quality zzzzzzz’s, have more energy and lose weight!