We’ve all been there …
You have a cruddy night of sleep and the whole next day you want to eat ALL the food, right?
And for some reason, you never actually feel full or satisfied.
Did you know that not getting enough sleep is one of the top reasons you could be having cravings?
It's crazy: between 1/3 and 1/2 of adults don’t get enough sleep. Are you one of them?
Your sleep affects two hormones that play a big role in your appetite AND metabolism.
First, there’s leptin. It tells your body when you’re full, and it also tells your body when to create energy (i.e., burn calories) to fuel your activities.
BUT … when you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have enough of it. Ugh.
This makes your brain think you don’t have enough energy … which leads to a signal to eat … PLUS another signal to store the calories you eat as backup for the energy shortage.
The bottom line – low leptin levels can make you feel constantly hungry AND slow down your metabolism. Boo.
Hormone #2 is Ghrelin and it is almost exactly the opposite of leptin, and its levels actually RISE when you don’t get enough sleep. Too much ghrelin can make you feel hungry and slow your metabolism.
You can see how leptin and ghrelin can set you up for a cycle of cravings and weight gain, right?
So what's the fix? Get enough regular, quality sleep – 7-9 hours a night! – super important. Sleeping in on the weekend is not enough!
Tracking your sleep is a great idea. A sleep tracker like the ones on many fitness devices (like FitBit, Apple Watch, Whoop, etc.) will not just let you know how much you’re sleeping, but also the quality of sleep (light, deep, restless, etc.).
PLUS … knowing WHY you are having cravings is a big help in putting them in their place.
If you find that you are having cravings because you didn’t get enough sleep, take action to minimize them!
→ Make sure you eat enough protein, the most satiating nutrient. For best craving-crushing results, have a protein-rich food at every meal. I've got hundreds in FIT + FRESH.
→ Drink at least 9-12 cups of water every day. I add BCAA's to take it to the next level.
→ Go to bed early if at all possible! Create a sleepy bedtime routine that trains your brain to sleep!
If you need more sleep ideas, check out my article on tips for sleepy success HERE!