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Sleep and Your Weight


Sleep and Your Weight
Natalie Butler, RD, LD

Most of us can think back to a night when we didn’t get enough sleep. The result the following day is that you were likely cranky, grumpy, fatigued and reaching for caffeine. But what happens when those sporadic sleepless nights turn into a chronic sleep deprivation pattern that extends into weeks, months, or even years?

And before you deny sleep deprivation in your own life, answer these simple questions to determine if you indeed do suffer from it:
Do you consume 3 or more caffeinated beverages per day?
Do you sleep less than 7 hours per night?
Do you sleep longer on your days off?
Do you wish you could nap more often?
Do you have a hard time focusing on tasks or are forgetful?
Do you wake up more than 3 times in the night?
Do you need an alarm clock to wake up?

If you answer yes to 1 or more of these questions, you are likely sleep deprived. A chronic lack of sleep affects your mood and memory but more importantly for weight management, sleep deprivation affects your appetite regulating hormones.

Leptin is your satiety hormone that tells your body when you are full.
Ghrelin is your hunger hormone that tells your body when you need to eat.

Lack of Sleep Affects Your Weight in 2 Ways:
1. A lack of sleep decreases leptin (satiety hormone) and increases ghrelin (hunger hormone) making you feel more hungry, less satisfied when you do eat which causes you to overeat.

2. In addition, sleep deprivation enhances the parts of your brain that senses pleasure and motivation (while blunting the parts that help us do complex problem-solving and judgements) which increases your cravings for high fat, high salt and high sugar foods (and causes you to have less inhibitions with the less healthy choices)…. this is the perfect formula for junk food and weight gain.

Getting more sleep may be easier said than done but here are some tips to help you catch more zzz’s and ultimately make weight loss easier on yourself:
1. Make your room dark and cold
2. Do not watch television or browse your computer or smart phone right before bed
3. No caffeine 3 hours before bedtime
4. No high fat foods within 2 hours of bedtime
5. Set a regular bedtime and wake time
6. Limit anything that will cause sound changes during the night (TV, phone alerts, etc.) because these can prevent deep sleep
7. Reading before bed can help you slip into sleep easier


If sleep deprivation is unavoidable right now, say, due to a newborn’s sleep/wake patterns, make sure to keep junk foods out of the house so that even if you crave them, you have less access to them. Also, since you will feel more hungry, definitely make sure to include high fiber foods and protein to help you feel more full faster and longer. Examples of high fiber foods are whole grains, beans, legumes, chia seeds, flaxseed, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at :)

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