Don’t Lose Sleep. It will Make your Butt Big.
It’s become kind of the norm to NOT get your eight hours of sleep in a night. We lead busy lives, and we are running on high octane until late at night.
Most of the time we’re not even sleepy when it’s time to go to bed.
So how does sleep affect your weight? More importantly, how the sleep you’re not getting is affecting your waistline. (and your butt!)
Way back before electricity, humans went to bed and slept once it got dark. There wasn’t any carb loading going on while they stared at each other by candlelight.
Fast forward to the 21st century. The lights are always on and our eyes are always glued to some screen or another.
We stay up later and later because we’ve got important stuff to do, like check Facebook and catch up on our shows.
And then you get hungry.
If you ate dinner, you’re not hungry because you need food. You’re not even hungry because you’re bored. If you’re not sleeping at least seven hours a night, you’re hungry because you’re sleep deprived.
Sleep and weight are more closely related than you think. A lack of sleep causes a disruption of the hormones, gherlin and leptin.
Not sleeping well reduces leptin, which makes you hungry.
Not sleeping well at night increases gherlin, which makes you hungry, and crave carbs, then you eat those carbs, and then your butt gets bigger.
No Sleep=Weight Gain
So what is all this gherlin, leptin, and cortisol, and why do they have an impact on my butt?
Getting a full night’s sleep does more than give your body rest and make you feel like you’re ready to take on the world. Consistent quality sleep regulates a series of hormones in our bodies, particularly the ones that regulate the hunger/satiety process.
Gherlin, you’re Out of Control
A lesser known hormone, gherlin, goes nuts when you don’t get enough sleep. Why should you care? Gherlin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. It’s kind of like your body’s internal dinner bell. Gherlin is secreted from your stomach, and gherlin levels increase when your body thinks it needs food.
So how does sleep interfere with gherlin? When you don’t sleep and don’t sleep enough, gherlin levels go through the roof.
Have you ever not been able to sleep and decided it was time to raid the refrigerator? That’s gherlin telling your body it’s time to eat.
Gherlin is also responsible for your cravings. Elevated gherlin levels are responsible for intense cravings, especially carbs, and it can give you an appetite that just won’t be satisfied.
If you’re hungry and know you shouldn’t be, don’t eat. Go to sleep!
Leptin, I Need More of you in My Life
If gherlin is the villain to your waistline, leptin is the superhero. Leptin is the satiety hormone. It tells your body it’s full.
When you’re sleep deprived, your leptin levels will drop. When it drops, it lets gherlin take over which makes you hungry all the time.
Leptin is released by fat cells. It tells your brain how to metabolize what you’ve eaten, and whether it should store it as fat or burn it.
By not getting enough sleep, leptin kind of goes on vacation. You don’t feel full, gherlin makes you crave carbs, and it’s more likely what you do eat will be stored as fat instead of being burned as energy.
Don’t Stress, Get Better Sleep for Weight Loss
Most people have heard of the hormone cortisol, it’s known as the belly fat hormone. Too much cortisol leads to belly fat.
The simple solution to lowering cortisol levels is to just sleep more. But, cortisol is more closely related to another reason poor sleep equals weight gain: stress.
When you don’t get a quality 7-9 hours night’s sleep, you put your body under tremendous stress. Sleep is your body’s way it rejuvenates, rests, and repairs itself. If you’re not sleeping, your body isn’t restoring itself, which causes stress.
This is where cortisol rears its ugly head. When your stress levels rise, so does cortisol. High levels of cortisol makes your heart rate increase, your muscles tense, and fat go straight to your belly.
This creates a type of never-ending vicious cycle. I can’t sleep, so my cortisol levels rise, then my muscles tense, then I feel stressed, and I can’t fall asleep.
So now, thanks to cortisol, you have a pot belly to go with your gherlin inflated bubble butt.
How to Get Better Sleep for Weight Loss (or Not Gain it at All!)
Most physicians believe that the average adult needs seven to ten hours of sleep a night. But if you’re waking up several times a night and you’re not resting well, that amount of time you spend in bed really doesn’t help you as far as getting the sleep you need to keep your hormones in balance.
If you’re using sleeping pills to sleep better, stop now! (unless they’re being prescribed by your doctor) Sleeping pills don’t address the root cause of your insomnia, and can wreak havoc on your body.
Over the counter sleep aids really do not help us get the restful sleep that is needed for weight loss. Fortunately, there are natural ways to help you sleep better at night.
- Use white noise machines for sleeping if you’re a light sleeper.
- Snoring partner? Learn how to sleep through it and use ear plugs made for snoring spouses and bed partners.
- Uber loud snoring partner? Use soft headphones to sleep in.
- Take measures to block blue light after sundown.
- Do relaxation exercises for sleep to de-stress before bed.
- Learn how to turn your brain off and sleep.
- Sleep in a completely dark room.
- Eat or drink foods that can make you feel sleepy.
- Regularly exercise for good sleep at night.
- Don’t drink caffeine eight hours before bed.
- Diffuse essential oils that induce sleep.
- Take magnesium as a sleep aid. Insomnia is the main symptom of magnesium deficiency.
Does Sleep Affect your Weight? Maybe America’s Obesity Problem is Related to its Sleeping Problem
45% of Americans are sleep deprived. On average we sleep two hours less than people did 40 years ago.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that America’s butts have gotten bigger in direct correlation to the amount of sleep the average person gets.
There are many important factors to gaining weight, losing weight, and keeping it off your butt. Sleep plays an important role in how our bodies store or burn fat.
Too little sleep causes your hormones to become out of balance, and leaves you with uncontrollable hunger and cravings which means no carb around you is safe.
A lack of sleep also produces stress, which raises cortisol levels in your body and makes fat collect in your abdomen.
By making sure you get enough quality, restful sleep, you can balance your hormones, control hunger, and alleviate stress which in the end keeps your butt trim and firm!