Can you really sleep your way to weight loss? When I spend time with clients who are trying to lose weight, they often mention that sleep is a problem for them. Can you relate?

Your lack of sleep may be hurting your attempts to lose weight.

One review found that people who sleep between 3.5 and 5.5 hours a night consume nearly 385 more calories the next day when compared to those who sleep between 7 and 10 hours. Sleep is critical for your body to repair and function properly. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, not only are you more likely to gain weight, but you’re also at a higher risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, irritability and more.

What usually causes sleep deprivation?

Dr. Josh Axe finds that sleep deficiency is typically due to the following factors:

  • Any disorder that disrupts sleep, such as a thyroid disorder, dealing with pain, acid reflux or sleep apnea.
  • Snoring (related to sleep apnea)
  • A demanding, busy schedule, including lots of time commuting and family obligations
  • High amounts of stress
  • Effects of certain medications or stimulants
  • Alcohol consumption or using other stimulants
  • Eating a poor diet that can lead to blood sugar fluctuations
  • Eating too close to bedtime, or not eating enough with dinner/later in the day (such as if you’re fasting)
  • Pregnancy and experiencing other hormonal changes

The less sleep you get, and the longer this pattern continues, the more severe the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on your health will be.

What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

  • Higher risk for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression
  • Trouble concentrating at work or school, making it harder to learn, focus, be creative, meet deadlines, remember information, or take tests
  • Difficulty driving, being more prone to accidents
  • Less motivation to be social, contributing to feeling more isolated
  • Higher likelihood of being more sedentary, which can contribute to weight gain
  • Increased appetite and higher risk for overeating, due to craving foods to help battle fatigue (especially processed, sugary, or comfort foods)
  • Poor moods, irritability, and increased risk for depression. People who lack sleep report feeling more “cranky,” overwhelmed, angry, frustrated and worried

Lack of sleep can trigger you to make poor choices around food, but the beneficial effects of getting enough sleep can support your healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

Positive Effects Of Getting Enough Sleep:

  • Helps with blood sugar regulation
  • Less risk for overeating
  • Lowers your stress levels
  • Helps you be more social
  • Boosts mood
  • Reduces crankiness
  • Lowers craving of sugary foods to get quick energy
  • Makes you happier

Here’s how nutrition can help you get a better night’s sleep:

Try Melatonin At Night:

Melatonin is one of the keys to a natural, healthy sleep cycle. Eating a combination of certain fruits and carbohydrates that support melatonin will help you fall and stay asleep. Include these items during your dinner or an hour before bed as an evening snack, to increase your melatonin production and ensure a sound sleep.

Melatonin-rich foods:

  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Porridge oats
  • Rice
  • Ginger
  • Barley
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes

Increase Tryptophan-Rich Foods In The Evening

Tryptophan creates serotonin, which makes melatonin. To further spur the production of serotonin and thus melatonin, eat these tryptophan-containing foods in the evening:

  • Grass-fed dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Fish, chicken, turkey
  • Sprouted grains
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Eggs
  • Sesame seeds or tahini
  • Sunflower seeds

A good night’s sleep can be a crucial lifestyle habit to help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and function with the energy, positive attitude, and high functioning you want. Contact me if you need help with this or any lifestyle issues that are keeping you from feeling your absolute best.

In good health,

Naomi

Naomi Williams is a registered nurse with a bachelors of science in nursing, and a certified holistic health coach. Naomi is passionate about helping people holistically with their weight loss, detoxification, and lifestyle goals. Contact the office for an appointment with her.