The Sleep-Weight Connection

This is a FANTASTIC article written by Peggy Kotsopoulos for Vega’s Blog.

I have been short-changing myself on sleep lately (OK, actually for a LONG time now) and this is a good reminder that I need to make sleep a priority.


The Sleep-Weight Connection

Whether you’re tossing and turning all night thinking of everything going on in your life, or just choose to stay up till the wee hours of the night working or playing, you are missing out on one of the most powerful health and weight loss boosters around — SLEEP! Here are 5 good reasons why you need to get a good night of shut-eye.

  1. Lack of sleep promotes weight gain
    Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your metabolism and has negative physiological effects promoting weight gain. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that sleeping for short durations (less than 7 hours per night) is associated with future weight gain. In fact, the study showed that women who sleep less than 7 hours per night are likely to gain an extra 2.5 lbs.
  2. Sleep promotes more FAT burned when trying to lose weight
    If you are eating clean, exercising and trying to lose weight, lack of sleep can impede your efforts. A study conducted at the University of Chicago suggests that lack of sleep reduces weight loss efforts by 55%. In addition to that, in those who slept less, only 25% of their weight loss came from fat — the rest came from loss of muscles and water (not good). Whereas, those who slept more, lost more actual fat than those didn’t.
  3. Sleep regulates your hunger hormone 
    When you compromise on sleep, your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that triggers hunger) and less leptin (the hormone that tells you to STOP eating). Adequate levels of sleep (7 to 8 hours/night) regulate your hunger hormones, whereas 5 hours or less can promote a hormonal imbalance1. Think about it: if you’re tired, you tend to reach for food as fuel to boost your sagging energy (and tend to be hungrier thanks to ghrelin). But higher ghrelin levels are also associated with reduced energy expenditure and reduced fat oxidization. That, coupled with the decrease of leptin that tells you to stop eating, is a potential weight gain nightmare.
  4. Lack of sleep depletes your body of vitamins and minerals 
    Vitamin C is such an important vitamin; an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to manage stress, support your immune system, slow down signs of aging caused by free radical damage, boost mood, and aid in weight loss. In fact, studies show that upping the intake of vitamin C before a workout promotes more calories burned. Vitamin C deficiency may also be correlated with weight gain. And, guess what? Sleep deprivation sucks you dry of vitamin C — along with other precious minerals, such as zinc — further compromising your immune system and contributing to weight gain.
  5. Lack of sleep increases risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer 
    Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease2  3, diabetes4, and cancer.5Studies suggest women who work shift work have higher incidence of breast cancer.6 7 Melatonin, an important hormone produced during sleep, seems to inhibit the estrogen pathway, and its antioxidant activity may specifically combat free radical damage due to estrogen metabolism8. If we’re not sleeping well, melatonin production is reduced, increasing the potential risk of estrogen-related cancers.But the benefits of melatonin are not limited to just the girls. Since melatonin is also an antioxidant, a decrease in production means less juice to give cancer-causing free-radical damage a kick in the butt. 9


    Peggy K


Click HERE to see the original article.

Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons.


Filed under Education, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

7 responses to “The Sleep-Weight Connection

  1. Lee Ann Bollinger

    I need to remember this next time I’m thinking about starting that movie at 11 pm!

  2. Amazing article Peggy! I find I am lately having to have really late nights (as in…2AM!! Shameful) but I always try and make sure I have nothing on the next day so I still get around 8 hours. Is that going to prevent any of these problems? Thanks!

  3. Ugh, sleep is a constant problem for me, but I really need to start a strict schedule and stick to it. I think a firm routine would really help train me to fall asleep at a decent hour, rather than feel restless around midnight and hop back on the computer.

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