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Does Sleeping Well Help You Lose Weight?

Getting a good night’s sleep improves your physical and mental health – and it can help you lose weight, too. 

If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s even more important to reach a healthy weight. Research reveals that about 40 percent of people who are obese also have sleep apnea — or obstructive sleep disorder — meaning sleep is key in combating the obesity epidemic. 

Your sleeping habits can play a role in your weight in several ways, including: 

Slower metabolism. Metabolism is a chemical process in which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Poor sleep leaves you less inclined to be active, meaning you’ll burn fewer calories during the day. This slows down your metabolism, increasing the likelihood of weight gain. 

Hormonal imbalance. Your appetite is regulated by ghrelin, the hunger-regulating hormone, and leptin, the satiety hormone. Your body manages these hormones, signaling to the brain when you need to increase your calorie intake. Sleep deprivation can cause these two hormones to fall out of balance, leading to increased appetite and a decreased feeling of fullness after eating. If you’re sleep-deprived, you’re likely to eat more calories, even when you aren’t hungry. 

Low energy and increased cravings.  Poor sleep depletes your body’s energy, making you more likely to crave foods that offer quick energy with simple carbohydrates and sugars. Since exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, having low energy means you’ll be more sedentary. 

Increased insulin resistance. Poor sleep is associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance deprives your body’s cells of glucose, or sugar. This causes hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can cause extreme hunger leading to overeating, dizziness, brain fog, food cravings and weight gain.

Sleep apnea risk. Untreated sleep apnea not only disrupts sleep, but it increases the risk for conditions such as hypertension, lung disease and even heart failure. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment if you suffer from this condition or another sleep disorder such as insomnia, which is also linked to weight gain and obesity. 

How To Sleep Better 

●      Establish a healthy sleep routine. Head to bed as early as possible and at the same time each night. And try to skip naps. Aim for at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

●      Avoid late-night eating. Stop eating about two hours before bedtime to allow food to settle and digest. Avoid oily or fatty foods that could cause heartburn or reflux, making it difficult to sleep.

●      Eat a light, healthy breakfast within two hours of waking to kick-start your metabolism. 

●      Enjoy the daylight, as this keeps your circadian rhythm — your internal body clock — healthy. Take a daily walk outside and open the blinds or curtains in your home. 

●      Avoid Smartphones and TV before bed.  The blue light that emits from these devices can decrease the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. So put away the electronics at least an hour or two before bed.


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