Sleep

How Lack of Sleep Affects Weight Gain + 3 Hacks to Get More Zs

Slacking on sleep may have more to do with weight gain than we think.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Real talk—if you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter and were absolutely famished, grabbing all the sugary things the next morning, you’re not losing your mind. There’s actually a reason why we crave all the things when we slack on sleep. So, night owls this one’s for you. We’re spilling all the deets on the lack of sleep weight gain connection you need to know about to take control of your health and weight loss goals. 

The Lack of Sleep Weight Gain Connection 

Ok, so what’s behind this whole lack of sleep weight gain connection? 

Why is it that we seem to have a bottomless pit of an appetite when we’re running on fumes when it comes to sleep and energy levels? 

Research shows that it has to do with hormonal shifts. When we skimp on sleep, ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite) increases, while leptin, the hunger hormone that lowers appetite, takes a dip. It’s pretty much a double whammy when it comes to eating habits the day after a night of poor sleep. 

What’s worse is that a lack of sleep is not only linked to overeating, but we’re also more likely to crave all the junk we’re trying to stay away from. Why? Research also shows that not getting enough sleep raises our blood levels of endocannabinoids, which are lipids that actually make the act of eating these sweets more enjoyable. 

So, if you’ve ever wondered if there’s a connection between lack of sleep and weight gain, there totally is. Getting more quality Zs is going to be a huge part of successfully losing and keeping weight off. 

3 Hacks to Get More Zs 

We know that there’s a mega connection between a lack of sleep and appetite, so we want to set you up for success here by sharing three hacks for getting more Zs. 

If you find it hard to get those golden 7-9 hours of sleep per night, give these hacks a try. Hey, even if they only help you sleep an extra half-hour each night, that’s a big step in the right direction. 

#1 Give Yourself a Bedtime 

Set bedtimes aren’t just for kids. Having a set time that you hit the hay each night will help you establish healthier nighttime habits to not only get into bed earlier, but to improve the quality of your sleep. 

Oh, and the earlier, the better. A study found that a bedtime of 10:10 PM resulted in the best eating and fitness habits. So, make 10 PM your bedtime goal to help take your health to the next level.  

#2 Find What Helps You Relax 

As part of your evening routine, do something that helps you relax. Drink a cup of herbal tea, diffuse some lavender essential oil, or curl up reading a good book. Unwinding (that doesn’t involve electronics) is an important part of helping your mind and body get ready for bed.  

For most of us, it helps to turn the electronics off at least an hour before bed. Blue light has been found to delay the release of melatonin, making us feel more awake when we should be winding down for the day. It can also negatively affect our body’s circadian rhythm (aka our internal clock), getting us stuck in a poor sleep pattern. 

If you have to use electronics right up until bedtime, consider turning your phone on night mode. You can even download apps like Bluelight Filter to block the light that may be interfering with your sleep quality. 

#3 Remove Distractions From Your Bedroom

Your bedroom should be your ultimate relaxation retreat. Try to keep work-related things out of your room. Having any sort of distraction that’s going to cause stress may make it difficult for you to sleep. 

Make your room as comfortable and relaxing as possible to make it easy to get a better night’s sleep. 

Want more sleep hacks? Read our post on seven hacks for better sleep. 

Optimize Your Sleep Habits For Better Weight Loss Success 

There really is something to the whole lack of sleep weight gain connection. From a change in hormones to an increased desire to eat all the wrong kinds of food, not getting enough shut-eye def sets us up for some poor eating habits. 

So, if you feel like you’re doing all the right things, but still not seeing the results you want, optimizing your sleep habits may be the missing link you need to supercharge your results. 

What are you waiting for? Pull out your most comfy PJs, pour yourself a mug of chamomile tea, and relax reading a book before bed tonight. 

Tonight is night one of improving your evening sleep routine to make healthier sleep habits for better weight loss success.