By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC and Annah Gillette
If you have been following this blog for more than a hot minute you have heard us talk about the importance of sleep. It is a key contributor to many areas of your health. It is not just calories in and calories out. You also cannot out work a bad diet with exercise.
There is a tremendous amount of evidence that sleep plays an important role in weight management. Insufficient sleep is strongly linked to obesity and metabolic disorders, as well as to diabetes. But we’re still working to understand the underlying mechanisms by which sleep can influence weight.
Studies suggest the restricted sleep may make it more difficult for people to choose healthful foods, and that lack of sleep may contribute to a shift in calorie consumption to later in the day, to the detriment of our waistlines.
A pair of recent studies indicates that sleep deprivation causes neurological changes that may compromise judgment and trigger desire for unhealthful foods. This study found that lack of sleep is associated with diminished activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, an area that’s critical to judgment and complex decision making. Participants who were sleep deprived made different, less
healthful food decisions than those who were not. And in this study,
researchers found that in people who were sleep deprived, the reward center of the brain was more strongly activated by unhealthful foods than in those who had received sufficient sleep.
One area that can negatively or positively affect sleep is hormones. If estrogen is low for example, and the lady is going through menopause, they may feel too warm and anxious to sleep well. And if progesterone is low they may feel depressed, sleepy and warm too. Getting hormones in balance can be crucial to a good night sleep to any female (of any age) or guys also! If hormones are elevated in the saliva, we have seen weight loss challenges occur. Saliva hormones can be entirely the same or different from hormone results done in the blood.
The challenge of maintaining a healthy weight is a daily endeavor, made up of many small choices—What to eat? How much? When?—that over time have a powerful cumulative effect. A routine of sufficient nightly sleep can aid in this endeavor, helping your body and mind work at its best, every day, for weight control and overall health.
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Medical disclaimer: Our tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.