Your waistline will thank you for sleeping more.

When you’re trying to fit work, play, family and fitness all in one day it is easy to lose the amount of hours you’re sleeping at night. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day but sleep is just as high of a priority as the gym during your weight loss journey. Studies have found a link between reduced sleep and increasing weight in both adults and children. Sleep plays a significant role in not just our metabolism but also in our hormones, which affect our weight just as much.

How sleep affects your hormones:

One major hormone affected by the reduction of sleep is insulin. Insulin is a hormone reduced by the pancreas that allows us to either turn glucose from carbohydrates into energy, which if not used right away is stored in our body. Anything stored that isn’t used up your body holds and turns into fat. Since insulin is essentially the “storage” hormone, the more your body releases, the more your body holds onto the glucose it consumes.

Studies have shown that a reduction in sleep is directly correlated to a decrease in insulin sensitivity. This means when you consume glucose your body has to produce more insulin causing it to store more than necessary. This also puts you at an increased risk of diabetes 2.  

How sleeps effect of your appetite:

Our appetite is decided by our hypothalamus, specifically the arcuate nucleus. Two main hormones influence this region. Leptin, which acts as an appetite suppressant. This hormone is released to tell your brain that your calorie needs have been met. The second hormone is ghrelin. This hormone is released by things such as fasting. Often times you know it is being released because your stomach will growl. A decrease in sleep was shown to decrease leptin production by 19% while increasing the production of ghrelin by as much as 24%. Bottom line, less sleep makes your appetite increase while making it harder to be satiated. I am sure you can imagine what a nightmare that is if you’re trying to trim your waistline.         

How much sleep you should be getting:

The recommended amount of sleep is going to fall between 7 hours to 7.7 hours. The average American sleeps on average six hours a night with 30% sleeping five hours or less. This number has dropped significantly from the average of nine hours that was the norm approximately a century ago. A correlation between our societies increase is easy to be made.