Lack of Sleep May Cause Weight Gain

October 23rd, 2013

Feeling tired? Research shows lack of sleep can prevent weight loss and even cause weight gain!

From lack of sleep, our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which causes us to feel hungry throughout the day. At the same time, we produce less leptin, a hormone that suppresses the appetite. Those who stay up late at night are more likely to eat more. So, ditch the late night snacking or the second dinner at 10pm by going to bed earlier and getting enough sleep each night.

Lack of Sleep May Cause Weight Gain

How much sleep do we actually need? According to the National Sleep Foundation, children (ages 3-12) should get 10-12 hours of sleep at night, teenagers should try for 8.5-9.5 hours, and adults should get at least 7 hours per night of sleep.

Are you having trouble falling asleep?

Here are some tips to help you fall asleep faster and get a better night’s sleep:

  1. Avoid coffee, tea, or any caffeine containing beverage/food (such as chocolate) after 2pm. Since caffeine can last up to 8 hours in the body, consuming caffeinated beverages in the evening can a lack of sleep.
  2. Avoid large meals at dinner time. Large meals can cause bloating and stomach upset along with acid reflux. It can take several hours for these symptoms to resolve after a meal. Instead, have a lighter dinner. If you are hungry later on, go have a snack no later than 1 hour before bedtime.
  3. Exercise is linked to sound sleepers. Those who exercise regularly are more likely to fall asleep faster and sleep through the night than those who do not exercise. Consider a walk around the block after dinner to help with sleep.
  4. Go to bed around the same time each night. Set a goal to follow a sleep and wake schedule. If you go to bed around the same time each night (or within an hour) you will be more likely to fall asleep faster each night. Your body gets used to a sleeping pattern which can help you sleep sounder.

Have another suggestion for a better night’s sleep? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.

Written by Suzie Bonder

Suzie Bonder MS RD is a Registered Dietitian in the state of New Jersey and the founder of SDO Nutrition. Suzie specializes in nutrition and weight loss counseling. Follow Suzie on twitter @SDOnutrition.

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