What do your waistline and sleep habits have in common? More than you might think. If you’re not catching enough Zzz’s, you might not just be waking up tired. You could be gaining weight, too.
Research has shown that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain over time. It can contribute to a host of ailments, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression and premature aging. It also contributes to fuzzy thinking. In fact, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, lack of sleep plays a major role in an estimated 250,000 traffic accidents each year.
How does lack of sleep make you gain weight?
When you don’t get enough rest, it affects certain hormones in your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, Leptin levels drop, which means you don’t feel as satisfied when you eat. Ghrelin levels rise, which stimulates your appetite and makes you want to eat more.
The combination of the two can make you overeat. Over time, this can lead to weight gain. Inadequate sleep may also play a role in developing or aggravating existing metabolic disorders.
Getting proper sleep can help you if you’re trying to lose weight—or maintain your current weight.
Try these tips to get healthier, more restful sleep.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Go to bed and get up around the same time every day.
- Establish a calming routine that helps you wind down at night.
- Avoid caffeine after 5 p.m., and pass on alcohol, which can disrupt sleep.
- Create a healthy sleep environment in your bedroom. For example, most people sleep better in total darkness.
- Leave your smartphone in another room—or at least silence it at night.
- Avoid doing stressful activities (like working) in your bedroom.
- Make sure your bed itself is comfortable. The right mattress, sheets, comforter and pillows can make all the difference.