I haven’t had enough sleep for the past two weeks. I don’t have a good reason for that, and I am not going to make excuses for such a bad habit. However that sleep deprivation was reflected in my weigh in result.
It might seem to be counter intuitive, because sleeping is identical with being inactive. But in reality, not having enough sleep can actually sabotage your weight loss journey.
What I found out when I learned about BMR is that we are still burning calories even when we were not doing anything — like when we were sleeping. Our metabolism doesn’t just suddenly stop just because we are shutting down for a while. It is also true, that while we are awake and active, we are obviously burning more calories — sitting down, standing up, moving about, or even thinking.
However, while we are spending more calories when we are awake, sleep deprivation triggers some kind of hormonal imbalance in our brain. It suppresses leptin — hormone that helped us burning calories, and instead triggers the production of ghrelin.
Ghrelin is also called as hunger hormone. Ghrelin is what makes us crave, makes our stomach rumble, and for a reason, it also makes us feel… hungry.
This is why when we are pulling an all-nighter we are experiencing carbs craving. This is why we have the late night snack — high in salt or sugar, which leave us end up with severe water retention the next day in addition to extra calories.
While ghrelin is the main culprit of why sleep deprivation can interfere with our weight loss program, it is not the only reason.
Another thing that is also triggered as we don’t have enough sleep is endocannabinoid system.
Have you heard of people who consume cannabis or marijuana said that they have ‘the munchies’? Well… this endocannabinoid system that kicks off as you are not having enough sleep is just like that. This makes snacking very… very… enjoyable.
Am I just talking bollocks?
Although I do hope to find more resources about the relationship between endocannabinoid system with sleep deprivation, probably something that is supported by NHS… there are a couple of promising studies and journals written about this.
Other than brain chemistry… obviously there are other reasons that might be our weight loss pitfalls.
Sleeping late means larger eating window. There are more time to screw up, and more time to make bad food decision.
Say we can fight the crave, and don’t give in to ghrelin… have you ever tried going to bed hungry? Can you sleep well with your stomach rumbling? Will you wake up happy after having a restless hungry sleep? Will you wake up refreshed and ready for a new day?
Of course weight loss is not the only reason why it is important for us to have a good night sleep. In general we need 6-8 hours sleep to function optimally anyway. If you are a beauty enthusiast, you also know how important having enough sleep is for your skin health.
For me, this is just one more incentive to fix my sleep pattern, and hopefully in a couple of days I could see the result 🙂
How did you sleep last night? Do you have enough sleep?
Do you want to read more about the researches I mentioned above? Here’s some reading:
Leptin and grelin:
Sleeping and weight gain: