Written by Cindy Posted in Weight Loss, Maintenance on Sunday, 11 March 2018.

Have you ever wondered how sleep, or the lack of, affects weight loss? As the following information will discuss, sleep is vital in optimizing weight loss. Multiple studies have shown that sleep has a huge impact on how we burn calories, and more importantly, how the body regulates hormones which are instrumental in metabolism and appetite.

In his book “The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan,” Dr. Michael Breus discusses how the lack of sleep increases the amount of c​ortisol i​n the body, and in turn slows your metabolism. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and large amounts of it are directly related to not only obesity and diabetes, but also insulin resistance. As we sleep less, our cortisol levels increase, causing the body to conserve energy so that we have enough fuel to get us through the next sleep­deprived day. Cortisol is also unique in that it is one of the hormones that causes food cravings for fatty and high carb foods. Now we are not only groggy, but we are craving the very foods that we are trying to avoid!!

Secondly, lack of sleep is also linked to increased amounts of ghrelin, and decreased amounts of leptin.  Ghrelin is responsible for increased hunger, with leptin responsible for telling the body when it is full in order to prevent overeating. Translation=you are now hungrier but can’t get full and keep eating!!! Ugh…

Finally, getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night decreases the amount of REM sleep. REM is the stage of deep, restful sleep where the body repairs itself, and we burn the most calories. The more hours of sleep we get, the more times we enter REM sleep, and for longer periods. Therefore, less than 8 hours of sleep means fewer REM cycles. In addition, the longer we sleep, the more we optimize the effects of ketosis while on a low­carb diet. As the body burns the remaining carbs consumed the previous day, ketosis is maximized as the body turns to its’ fat stores to provide needed fuel.

Fortunately, you can optimize sleep and therefore your weight­loss. First, research shows that consuming protein before bedtime helps satiate the body, and even raise your resting metabolic rate the following day. Protein is considered a thermogenic food, which means that it burns more calories during digestion. A study at Florida State University (Boo!!) concluded that eating up to 30 grams of whey protein prior to going to bed helped maximize weight loss. Good thing you have so many options to choose from at Ideal Weight Management!

Secondly, research has shown that calcium and magnesium are two of the best natural sleep agents available. And if you are a client at IWM, you are already taking them!! Both minerals help maintain optimal nervous system health and promote muscle relaxation. Taking 2 of your cal­mag supplements at bedtime will help contribute to better sleep.

Lastly, strive to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night by decreasing the amount of caffeine you drink, turning off the social media, and keeping a routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Following these recommendations will be sure to help you on your way to your weight loss goals at IWM!!!