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  • Writer's pictureJulien Chamoun

Sleep is Underrated for Weight Loss and Weight Management

Sleep plays a much bigger role in weight loss and weight management than people realize. Many individuals focus on diet and exercise as the primary tools for achieving their weight goals, but neglecting sleep can undermine these efforts. Adequate sleep is a cornerstone of good health, influencing not just energy levels but also hormonal balance, appetite, and ultimately, body weight management.

Firstly, sleep deprivation disrupts the balance of key hormones that regulate appetite and hunger: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin, known as the "hunger hormone," signals your brain that it’s time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin and simultaneously produces less leptin. Leptin is the hormone responsible for signaling fullness. This hormonal imbalance leads to increased hunger and appetite, making it more challenging to stick to a diet or maintain a healthy eating pattern. In addition, you're awake for longer periods of the day, giving you more a chance to get hungry and over eat.

Additionally, inadequate sleep impacts the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and manage blood sugar levels. Sleep loss has been linked to a decrease in insulin sensitivity, where the body struggles to process glucose efficiently. This can lead to higher blood sugar levels and increased fat storage. This can contribute to weight gain and also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Being tired also makes it more difficult to engage in physical activity, making it significantly harder to lose or maintain your weight.

To support weight loss and effective weight management, prioritizing sleep is just as essential as diet and exercise. Adults should aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and limiting exposure to screens and caffeine before bedtime can greatly improve sleep quality. Good sleep will also enhances mood and cognitive function, providing the mental clarity needed to make healthy choices and stick to weight management plans.

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