Have you ever noticed that after a night of no sleep you spend the next day loading up on sugar and carbs? Do you feel like no matter how much you try to fill up your belly it’s like a bottomless pit. Well there seems to be a correlation between hours under the covers and weight loss!


In a recent study, reported in Allure magazine, researchers found that sleep deprivation is associated with increased body fat even while dieting.

With all things being equal the people in the study who slept 8.5 hours versus those who slept 5.5 hours both lost the same amount of weight but the lighter sleepers lost less fat mass (1.3 pounds versus 3 pounds). This means those who didn’t get enough sleep were burning through their lean muscle mass rather than fat. And as we all know the less muscle mass you have the fewer calories you burn.


Sleep deprivation makes you hungrier, and it stimulates the production of  ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates your appetite and makes you feel more hungry. Less sleep also wreaks havoc with your leptin levels which is produced in your fat cells sending signals to your brain that you are satiated.

Many people complain that even when they are watching their calorie intake and dieting the weight just seems to cling on. That’s because their bodies become Leptin resistant. In essence weight loss is stunted because your body stops responding to the leptin levels in your system. The “I’m full” switch never goes off. People with low leptin levels never feel full in spite of how much they eat.


In addition to more sleep overcoming leptin resistance requires a healthy diet and daily exercise. At least 30 minutes of cardio and 10 to 20 minutes of weight training is optimal. Regular exercise helps to promote a good nights sleep. Working your body is tiring!  Getting your leptin levels back in working order also require a concerted effort in healthy eating.  Stick to an eating regimen that is low in carbohydrates, high in protein with a dose of healthy fats. Eating smaller meals more regularly throughout the day is the best way to regulate blood sugar and control your cravings. It’s like stoking the fire aka your metabolism, on a regular basis. As long as your system is regularly fed it will never go into starvation mode and try to retain your fat intake.


In addition to better managing your diet and exercise program there are a few keys to getting better sleep especially in today’s crazy connected wifi world. Don’t bring your computer to bed and leave the TV watching for the family room instead of the bedroom. Sleep in as close to total darkness as possible. And finally give yourself two hours between eating, drinking, or exercising before trying to get some zzz’s.