Are your bad sleep habits making you fat?



Updated: Mar 12, 2019

Joni Peddie’s research shows how Sleep is inextricably linked to health, wellbeing and resilience! Joni, as an associate of the World Sleep Society is sharing the ‘facts’ so that Sleep is no longer seen as a luxury.

If you trade in your sleep for a few extra hours of wakefulness there are many hidden health costs. World Sleep Day is the 15th March 2019 and Joni, as CEO of the business ‘Resilient People’ has been nominated to get people to ‘wake up’ and take note of the physical and psychological effects of insufficent sleep. These include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, dementia and Alzeihemer’s.



Are your bad sleep habits making you fat?



Are you constantly craving various carbs like pasta, bread, bread, muffins, chips and scones? We forget that our bodies are smart. You may actually just need more sleep. When you are sleep deprived your body produces more of the hormone called ghrelin. The purpose of ghrelin is to tell your brain when you need to eat, when it should stop burning kilojoules and when it should store energy as fat. During sleep, levels of ghrelin decrease, because sleep requires far less energy than being awake does.




However, if you sleep less than 7 hours per night, your body produces excess ghrelin. The effect on your body is not great : your body thinks it's hungry and it needs more kilojoules. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived tend to crave and eat too many starchy carbs.

On the other hand, if you are prioritizing sleep and getting your 7-8 hours sleep per night, your leptin levels increase. This hormone is involved in the regulation of appetite, metabolism and kilojoule burning. Leptin is the chemical that tells your brain when you're full. It triggers a series of messages and responses that starts in the hypothalamus and ends in the thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland controls the way your body stores and uses energy.

Science tells us that when you don't get enough sleep, you end up with too little leptin in your body, resulting in a constant feeling of hunger and a general slow-down of your metabolism.

Sleep deprivation has also been found to increase levels of stress hormones and resistance to insulin, both of which also contribute to weight gain. Insulin resistance, of course can also lead to Type 2 diabetes.

There are a few things you need to do in order to keep this hormonal ‘chaos’ at bay:


• Are you drinking enough water? How much do you need? Drink one 250ml glass of water for every 10 kg that you weigh. Thirst and hunger are easily confused because they share the same side effects: fatigue, muscle cramping/soreness, dizzy, poor concentration etc.


• Stress is associated with higher body weight, and ghrelin production. Find ways to reduce your stress levels: for example, exercise, meditate, use breathing exercises, or truly relax by putting your feet up and reading a good novel. If you read your novel in a warm, Epsom salts bath … you will experience a ‘double’ benefit from both relaxing activities.

Lastly , focus on getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Less than 7 hours of sleep, and you’ll have too much ghrelin, and too little Leptin the next day. What’s going to happen is a ‘bad eating day’. This cascades into a bad-eating week. As we know, this vicious circle has a multitude of ‘dis-ease’ ramifications for your body!

 The bottom-line is that deep, restorative sleep is more necessary than food. One can last for a few weeks without food, but abstain from sleep for only a few days and you can’t function at all!

If you are battling with food craving, start focusing on quality sleep. Visit our website: resilientpeople.co.za for ‘science-based’ sleep products.

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