It’s something that’s on everyone’s minds. And not that it should be. But we’ve been conditioned that we’re supposed to be a certain weight.
And let’s be honest, as busy, tired women, most of us aren’t the weight we want to be.
Whether we want to gain weight or lose weight.
I don’t want you to be thinking about your weight all the time.
But I do need to tell you about the ONE extremely important thing that no one talks about when it comes to weight.
Now, this works both ways.
I have met people who, when sleep is terrible, really struggle to keep weight on.
But I’ve met more people who, when sleep is terrible, really struggle to lose weight. And this is definitely the majority, so this is what I’m going to be talking about today, but just know that if you’re someone who struggles to maintain weight, good sleep can help with that as well.
There are 4 main reasons sleep impacts your weight.
1. Hunger Cues
There are two hormones that affect your appetite. Leptin makes you feel full and satisfied. Ghrelin makes you feel hungry.
When you are sleep deprived, your leptin levels tank, and ghrelin levels spike.
What does that mean?
It means that when you’re exhausted, you feel hungrier than your body actually is.
You don’t feel full or satisfied as easily.
Exhaustion throws off your appetite, big time.
So even if you have the best of intentions, being exhausted is going to make it a lot harder for you to choose healthy foods consistently, even with the best of intentions.
On top of the fact that our hormones are wonky when we’re tired, the other thing we tend to want is more energy. And we get tons of quick energy from quick food. The treats and sweets and cookies and cakes and chips. That food will ramp up our energy really quickly, and so when we’re exhausted that is the food we reach for.
But those are the foods that wreak havoc on our blood sugar, give us more cravings, and add the empty calories throughout the day.
It’s important to remember though that when you’re exhausted and reach for those foods, it’s not because you don’t actually have any willpower. It’s because your body is giving you messed up signals.
So if you get good quality sleep, those signals will be doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
Even if you have the most low-stress life ever, sleep deprivation causes our stress hormones to spike. That lovely stress hormone, cortisol, will increase when you’re exhausted.
High levels of cortisol can cause weight gain because cortisol stashes food away as fat. In particular, high cortisol levels will increase the fat around your abdomen. And once cortisol makes you gain weight, that weight can be incredibly difficult to lose.
The solution here is to focus on stress reduction techniques and tools.
And the most important one of those is sleep.
4. Energy Levels
While how we sleep and what we eat are the biggest factors in weight, movement and exercise plays a role too.
And what’s the last thing you want to do when you’re exhausted?
Exercise is one of the first things to go when we’re tired, or we don’t have enough time, or we just don’t feel like it.
Movement is important for weight maintenance & loss for a few reasons, and most people think of it as a way to expend calories. While this is true, that’s not where exercise has the MOST power when it comes to weight.
Daily exercise or movement is one of the most powerful ways to lower your stress levels. And stress levels play a much bigger role in weight gain than we recognize.
So make sure to incorporate daily movement, not because it’s using up calories so that you can eat more, but because it’s keeping your body healthy, and it’s lowering your stress levels.
Everyone talks about using exercise for weight loss and weight maintenance.
But we do NOT talk enough about using sleep as a powerful tool for weight loss.
And that’s, honestly, the tool we should be focusing on.
Even if you feel like you’re sleeping 8 hours each night, if you find yourself tired, cranky or irritable, snapping at your kids, fighting with your partner, relying on coffee to get you through each day, or struggling to lose weight, then sleep is something you’ll want to look into.
If you’re ready to optimize your sleep and kickstart your weight loss, head on over to register for my FREE virtual workshop, the Superior Sleep Solution, here.