Extra pounds seep into our lives when we least expect it. Losing weight is challenging, to say the least. Sometimes while dieting, 2 weeks can pass without dropping an ounce. The mystery tells us there is a lot is going on with the body. Lack of sleep, hormones and an altered metabolism can disrupt the dieter’s goals.
Three hormones are huge players when it comes to weight loss. Balancing these three hormones can make a huge difference. The hormones are leptin, ghrelin and insulin.
Lack of sleep increases ghrelin, lowers leptin and hormones become unbalanced.
Produced in the stomach, ghrelin relays the message, “I’m hungry.” Ghrelin received its name from an Indo-Euro language meaning “to grow”. The hormone stimulates appetite and with an increase of the hormone, guess what? Overeating takes place. Overeating can become an issue with the wrong foods. Snacking on refined and processed food perks up the body with easy energy and the hormone insulin, produced from the pancreas,starts trying to shoot out more of the hormone that regulates the glucose. Ghrelin encourages fat accumulation in the abdominal region, according to the web site, Science Daily. It is a key player in developing weight gain. Known as the “hunger hormone,” ghrelin stimulates the hypothalamus to generate appetite. It favors fat near the liver which increases a resistance to insulin and slows down metabolism.
Excess fat in the abdominal region puts many at risk for a multitude of diseases. With an altered metabolism, there is an increase of waist circumfrence, hypertension and insulin resistance. Weight gain affects metabolism.
Lack of sleep decreases leptin,the hormone letting us know we’re full and satisfied. A recent study at Stanford University revealed participants sleeping less than 8 hours a night had low levels of leptin and increased levels of ghrelin. They also had an increase of body fat and the fewer the hours slept, the higher the body fat.
How to Improve Sleep Patterns and Key Dietary Patterns to Balance Hormones
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Try for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, but do it at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.
If snacking, reach for low glycemic bite, such as whole grain or protein.
Melatonin supplements or herbal supplements such as valerian or chamomile.
Take a fish oil supplement or a “good fat” supplement and decrease meat consumption.
Fiber supplements have been shown to improve blood sugar balance.
Check labels for hidden sugar content.
Look into stress reduction techniques.
Take a quality multi-vitamin.
At least 40 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation and 40 percent of adults experience daytime sluggishness that interupts daily activites, according to Michael Murray, N.D. and author of “How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes With Natural Medicine.”
Michael Murray, N.D.; “How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine”; 2003
Medescape: The Impact of Sleep Deprivation and Hormones
Science Daily.com: Sleep Limits Fat Loss
WebMD:The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While you Sleep