What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight? Part 2- Lack of sleep

You have been dieting and exercising but the weight is not shifting - how frustrating is that!?  The first thing to do is get yourself checked out by a medical practitioner, as certain conditions such as underactive thyroid can get in the way of your efforts to lose weight.  If your doctor gives you the all clear, however, it's time to look at other factors that may have affected your weight.

If you regularly do not have enough sleep, it may stop you losing weight.  There are several reasons for this.  If you do not have enough sleep, your energy levels will be low so preparing healthy food seems like too much effort and you are more likely to eat convenience (junk?) foods.  You may also not feel like exercising.

In fact sleep deprivation dulls your pre-frontal cortex, the decision making part of your brain making it less likely you will make good food choices. Have you noticed too, the longer you stay up, the more appealing salty or sweet foods seem?   

There is an effect at the cellular level too.  Lack of sleep means glucose tolerance is impaired.This means that your cells do not take the glucose they need for their metabolism from the blood, and this signals to your brain that you are hungry and so you eat.

Lack of sleep also messes with your hormones.  Two hormones in particular are involved - ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite so that you eat and more is produced when you are sleep deprived. Leptin signals to your brain that you have eaten enough and less is produced when you are sleep deprived.  More ghrelin, less leptin - you can see which way this is going - you are going to eat more.

Ghrelin and leptin are not the only hormones lack of sleep messes with.  When you are sleep deprived your cortisol levels rise and you know from last week what effect this can have on your weight.  Please see 'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight-Part 1-Stress'

Now we are not talking about the occasional late night but regular sleep deprivation. Also, sleeping more than you need will not make you lose more weight.  Sleep requirements vary but about 7 1/2 hours a night seems to be optimal.

Tip- If you have trouble getting off to sleep you could try sprinkling a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow before you go to sleep. Also, make sure you have some 'winding down' time before bed- turn off computers etc and may be have a relaxing warm bath. I find a cup of chamomile tea also helps. 

You may also like the yoga videos on my YouTube Channel below:-

'Yoga for a good night’s sleep Part 1'

'Yoga for a good night’s sleep Part 2'

'How yoga boosts health – Better sleep'

Deep relaxation also helps prepare you for sleep.  Please try my 'Yoga-relaxation-Yoga Nidra'

Night, night, God bless

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