How is your sleeping behavior connected with your weight?
There is one hormone that we need to have sufficient and restful sleep: melatonin. If we are lacking sleep, we possibly produce fewer melatonin which leads to worse sleep and consequently we expand our lack of sleep. One of the many consequences and “side effects” of lack of sleep is overweight which often leads to obesity.
So far, the exact connections have not been discovered yet. But, one thing is sure: a lack of melatonin is increasing the appetite-regulating hormone orexin, just like sleep has an influence on the appetite-related hormones ghrelin and leptin. Orexin is not only a stimulant it also makes extremely hungry. So, lack of sleep is not only disturbing our sugar- and fat-metabolism but also causes a constant feeling of hunger.
What to do?
Besides darkness, a proper diet supports melatonin production. It is very important to have the last meal two to three hours before going to bed. If you already are suffering under the feeling of hunger due to lack of sleep it is not easy to stick to this rule. But, this in turn leads to a decreased melatonin production. The vicious circle of overweight due to lack of sleep runs its course.
But, it is important to not give in to this constantly present feeling of hunger and to take particular care for a healthy dinner. The last meal of the day should not have a high sugar content. But, there are foods that support falling asleep since they have a high share of vitamins and melatonin. Advisable are cherries, for example. They contain few sugar but a lot of melatonin. And eaten two or three hours before sleeping your digestion has enough time to do its work. Now, when you are having enough melatonin you can start to balance your sleep debt. By the way, a walk in the daylight is not only good for your shape but also for producing melatonin. When spending time in daylight you are increasing the production of the happy hormone serotonin – and this is a precursor to melatonin.
Of course, the most common factors for obesity are poor nutrition and lack of exercise. But still, often the attempt to lose weight is disturbed by a bad sleeping behavior. Once you succeed in balancing it losing weight will become very easy. But sufficient, restful sleep can do more: it also enhances the physical and mental health!
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This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German