Sleep influences your weight because the amount of sleep you get affects your hormone balance. And in turn, your hormones regulate your appetite.
Two important weight-regulating hormones are called leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin tells your brain when we’re hungry and leptin tells it when you’re full.
Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are not only more likely to be overweight, but also to have a higher level of ghrelin and lower level of leptin. So when you don’t sleep enough, you are both more likely to feel hungry and likely to know when to stop eating. This combination leads to overeating.
Another important weight-regulating hormone is cortisol. Cortisol is vital for us to survive, as it tells our bodies to “fight or flight” when in danger. When we perceive stress, it tells our cells to get rid of their sugar stores to provide us fast energy.
What is less known is that your cortisol level is lowest when you’re in deep sleep. In this state, your body repairs itself. If you do not get enough deep sleep, you cortisol level stays higher than it should, hindering recovery and weight loss.
1) Don’t look at any screen for 1-2 hours before bedtime
Screens emit electromagnetic frequencies that can trick your brain to think it’s daytime. You’ll find it more difficult to enter deep sleep.
2) Do breathing exercises
Deep breathing calms the central nervous system to switch the brain into its “rest and digest” mode. Breathe deeply for 10 minutes before bed.
3) Have a bedtime routine.
Treat bedtime like an important ritual. Build habits to associate this ritual with sleep. For example, pack away your laptop, put on your PJs, and read for twenty minutes.