Sleep and Weight Loss
Welcome back to The Science of Fat Loss Hints, Tricks, and Tips: Part 7 to learn how good quality sleep helps to facilitate fat loss, increases energy and helps to sculpt your body for both men and women.
Most people don’t realize that sleep and weight loss are tied together. Being a holistic personal trainer and nutritionist in Los Angeles for the past 17 years has given me some interesting and key insights into healthy eating, exercise and holistic lifestyle changes. We will start by discussing how sleep and weight loss are interrelated and focus on the science and then discuss what you can do to enhance sleep quality and quantity and lose weight.
Please note, it is beneficial and important to get the correct advice on your exercise routine, overall nutrition program, daily calorie intake and developing healthy habits. If you need help, call us to get started today at (310) 720-8125.
Topics and Highlights:
- Lack of Sleep and Overeating
- Sleep, Energy Levels and Motivation
- Sleep and Weight Loss
- Poor Sleep disrupts Cortisol, Grehlin, Leptin, Testosterone and Insulin
- Stress Reduction Tips
- Supplement Tips
- Lifestyle Tips for Good Quality Sleep
Sleep and Hormones
Did you know that when you don’t sleep enough or have poor quality sleep, you crave more bad carbs and calories the next day?
There was a fascinating study on PubMed titled: “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index.” The study looked at different groups and how sleep affected their ability to lose weight. They specifically looked at two hormones; Leptin and Ghrelin, which are the two hormones involved in appetite regulation.
The study concluded that an increase in body fat was proportional to decreased sleep, and that “participants with short sleep had reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. These differences in leptin and ghrelin are likely to increase appetite, possibly explaining the increased BMI observed with short sleep duration. In Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common, and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones with sleep curtailment may contribute to obesity.”
I have personally had issues with poor sleep quality and craving junk food. I noticed that when I sleep less than the 8 1/2 hours, which is what my body needs, I crave bread and sugar and simply over eat. My clients have had the same experience where they noticed a difference when they slept less, and the fact that they craved junk food the next day. In today’s fast pace world, sleep is the first thing to go. Between family, work and social obligations, sleep is the first to be de-prioritizized and seen as not important. It’s essential to get good quality sleep every night. We’ll talk later about sleep and a proper power down before bed which will help boost melatonin levels and sleep quality. Next, let’s get into appetite and over eating.
Appetite Hormones and Weight Gain: How Sleep Affects Leptin and Ghrelin
These two appetite-regulating hormones work opposite of each other when it comes to hunger. Leptin, a hormone made of fat cells decreases your appetite while Ghrelin increases your appetite.
Leptin – The Appetite Reducer
- Leptin is the chemical that tells the brain when you’re full and when to start burning calories as well as when to create energy that your body can use.
- Leptin triggers the messages and responses that begin in the hypothalamus and ultimately end in the thyroid gland, which we spoke about in part one of this series.
- During sleep, there is an increase in leptin levels which tell your brain that you have enough energy and there is no need to trigger feelings of hunger or the need to burn calories.
- Lack of sleep causes a lack of leptin which results in your brain thinking you no longer have enough energy, so the brain tells you that you are hungry even though you don’t need food, and it also takes steps to store the calories you did eat as fat.
A decrease in leptin caused by a reduction of sleep will result in an increased feeling of hunger as well as a lowered metabolism.
Ghrelin – The Appetite Increaser
- Ghrelin tells your brain when you need to eat and when to stop burning calories and when it should store energy as fat.
- During sleep, there is a decrease in ghrelin levels which is due to sleep requiring less energy than your waking hours.
- Lack of sleep causes too much ghrelin which causes your body to think it’s hungry and needs more calories, and this leads to the body not burning those calories because it thinks there is a shortage.
An increase in ghrelin caused by a decrease in sleep will increase a feeling of hunger. Lack of sleep is also linked to an increased level of stress hormones and resistance to insulin which we discussed in a prior part of this series, all of which contribute to weight gain. For more on insulin and weight loss, click here: Part 5 – Insulin and Weight Loss
How Circadian Rhythm and Energy Levels Affect Sleep & Weight Loss
Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock consisting of the rise and fall of your cortisol levels which can affect your sleep and wake cycles as well as hormone release, eating habits and digestion. Circadian rhythms determine our sleep patterns.
- Circadian rhythm is a response to light and dark in our environment.
- Irregular rhythms have been linked to various health conditions including:
- Sleep disorders
- The body’s master clock is located in the hypothalamus which receives direct input from the eyes and has ultimate control over circadian rhythm.
- The master clock controls the production of melatonin which is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
- At night when there is less light, the master clock tells the brain to produce more melatonin, and the opposite happens when there is more light.
Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits. When sleep gets disrupted due to daylight savings time or travel and jet lag, our circadian rhythm gets thrown off, and we feel tired and sluggish.
Low energy is one of the primary symptoms that my new clients have when starting my health and fitness program. This also expresses itself into low motivation, in other words not much motivation for working out. The first thing that I work on with new clients is increasing sleep quantity and sleep quality – without this it is impossible to lose weight and body fat. Part of having low energy is tied to poor sleep habits and much of this has to do with power hormones such as testosterone. If you would like to read more about this, click here: Part 6 – Testosterone and Weight Loss
Sleep, Stress and Cortisol
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone allows your body to respond to danger and stressful situations as a protection mechanism. This hormone gives you that added boost of quick energy for “fight or flight” situations. Scientists have discovered that insufficient sleep elevates cortisol levels. So, poor sleep can do the following:
- Cortisol gives you sudden energy by turning some of the protein in your muscles into glucose (sugar) for energy. So in the short-term, you get an energy boost, but this will not last.
- Glucose is converted to fat, so if cortisol levels are continually high, then the result will be weight gain. In other words, in the long run, given your sleep habits and lack of sleep, if you don’t sleep enough you will gain weight.
- Lack of proper sleep leads to an increased state of stress causing higher cortisol levels, but at some point you will begin to burn out. This high level of stress and poor sleep is not sustainable. In the long run, you will eventually crash.
For more on Stress and weight loss click here: Part 4 – Stress and Weight Loss
Stress and Sleep
We know that a lack of sleep leads to an increase in stress causing an increase in cortisol which ultimately leads to weight gain. We also know that by getting a good nights rest helps with motivation, energy and training intensity. It is important to prioritize sleep above all else. This is when your body recovers from work and exercise. In order to help with any sleep difficulties, here are a few supplements for good sleep and weight loss.
Supplements for Sleep Remedies
- Melatonin – This is the hormone your body produces naturally that tells your brain it is time to sleep. Taking melatonin can help improve quality of sleep. I prefer clients use a sublingual form of melatonin.
- Valerian Root – A popular herb that also promotes better sleep quality.
- Magnesium – A mineral that helps to quiet the mind and body. Insufficient levels have been linked to insomnia.
- Lavender Oil – The lavender plant is widely used in aromatherapy for relaxation. Lavender’s soothing fragrance can improve the quality of sleep in those who have insomnia.
- L-Theanine – This amino acid can improve overall sleep and help with relaxation.
Give Your Brain a Break!
In our world, we are addicted to technology. Computers, cell phones, tablets, laptops are consistently used throughout the day. At some point, we need to break away from any screen time and just relax and chill. The brain is like a computer, with excessive stress from over use it can become taxed and stressed. It is important to make a point every day to get away from technology and actually have an experience with yourself – your human body. We seem to be like walking lolly pops, we are all in our head and don’t really focus on our bodies and at some point, due to this stress, the body begins to break down and malfunction. Here are my top suggestions to begin to relax your mind and body:
- Meditation – learn how to relax your mind and body
- Stop watching the news – it’s way too stressful
- Try Yoga – a chill out form of yoga, not power yoga
- Soaking in the tub with Epsom Salt for 30 minutes
- Reading a relaxing book
- Meet with a friend for coffee and get off of social media
- Hangout with family
- Stretch your body
- Exercise without TV watching, have an experience with your body
- Stop any gaming or porn – you’re burning your brain out!
- Go to a spa and relax
- Get a massage
- Go on a nature hike
- Go to the beach or the mountains and sit and relax and be in the now!
EMF Radiation and Poor Sleep
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. High-level radiation which has the potential for cellular and DNA damage.
EMF Radiation is a complicated topic and may affect some people more than others. If you have sleep issues this is one of the first places to look. EMF Radiation can act like invisible sunlight that your brain can be affected by this radiation making it really difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Here is a great podcast that discusses some of the latest research and solutions for EMF radiation:
It discusses the connection between cell phones, Wi-Fi, laptops and various symptoms such as:
- Insomnia and sleep issues
- Gut Issues and Food Sensitivity
Some of the main points in this podcast are turn off your WiFi at night, unplug any landline mobile phones (the receiver acts as a small mini cell tower) and put your phone in airplane mode.
7 Tips to get Good Sleep and Lose Weight
- Relax – Before going to bed take time to wind down by doing deep breathing, soaking in your tub, stretching, meditation or yoga which will all enhance sleep time and quality.
- Turn off all blue light devices one hour before bed – TVs, cell phones, laptops can all disrupt your internal clock as they emit blue light and we discussed how light alters your circadian rhythm.
- Aim for eight to ten hours of sleep each night, this is important for energy, motivation and training intensity.
- Exercise but not within three hours of your bedtime. This will help tire you out so that you can sleep deeply. The only caveat to this is that do not sacrifice sleep for exercise. Some people will cut sleep short just so that they can exercise in the morning. Sleep is more important than exercise. You may have to go to bed early and rework your social schedule so that you can get more sleep. After this step, you will be ready to exercise intensely and have more energy and motivation.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol near bedtime because caffeine will keep you awake and alcohol will disrupt the normal stages of sleep. For some, the half-life of caffeine could be up to 12 hours. This means that for some people, caffeine intake will affect sleep up to 12 hours after consuming it – if you’re sensitive to caffeine, no caffeine 12 hours before bed. This may vary based on genetics.
- Make sure you get enough sunlight throughout the day, especially in the morning. This will help set your internal clock and increase sleep quality.
- Learn how to quite your mind and meditate. There are many great apps that will help you meditate and calm a busy mind.
Taking care of our bodies by eating right, exercising and getting enough rest is vital to our health, especially when we are trying to lose weight. For total body transforming information, contact me today, and together we will make 2019 the start of a fit and fabulous life-changing journey!
WEIGHT LOSS IS THE #1 HEALTH GOAL IN AMERICA
Weight Loss is the #1 Health Goal in America. And, there is a strong correlation between belly fat or a large belly and degenerative disease. Whether you want to look great naked or simply just want to live longer, getting leaner and healthier has to be one of your priorities in life. If you interested in learning more about getting lean and healthy, please check out my 10 part series on the science of weight loss.