By Alane Stieglitz, ND, CNC
If you have been following this blog for more than a hot minute, you have heard us talk about the importance of sleep and weight loss. It is a crucial contributor to many areas of your health. It is not just calories in and calories out. You also cannot outwork a bad diet with exercise.
There is a tremendous amount of evidence that sleep plays a vital role in weight management (weight loss). 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. So, one of the benefits of sleep and weight loss if your mindset for food options is better.
A pair of recent studies indicate that sleep deprivation causes neurological changes that may compromise judgment and trigger a 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 unhealthy food decisions. And in this study, researchers found that in sleep-deprived people, the brain’s reward center was strongly activated by unhealthful foods than in those who had received sufficient sleep.
How are sleep and weight loss affected by our hormones? If estrogen is low, for example, and a female 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 too warm. Getting hormones in balance can be crucial to a good night’s sleep and weight loss to any female (of any age) or guys!
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 their best every day for weight control and overall health.
Two ways to check your hormones to help with sleep and weight loss.
2. Blood testing for hormones like leptin, thyroid, inflammation, insulin, etc. that can prevent weight loss.
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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.