Can getting more sleep help you lose weight? Here’s my experience and what the science says about how sleep can help you eat 270 fewer calories per day!
Quick journal update- I started my 14 lb weight loss goal Friday. Today is Wednesday, and I’m down two pounds! Yeah! I know it’s not much, but I did want to share the journey completely.
Honestly, 2 lbs shouldn’t feel that different, but it does. I shared on Saturday that I like being at my ideal weight because I have more confidence and energy. But today I’m wondering if it has more to do with stringing a few days together of not overeating that gives me energy and confidence. Probably both. But the lethargy I get from overeating is the WORST! I just want to crawl in bed and watch TV all day. Which leads to weight gain, bloating, and just feeling like a slug.
But I feel like I’m out of the dark and back into motivation. The one question that has kept me disciplined the last 5 days is
- Are you really going to let a __Fill in the blank___ get in the way of your goal?
- Are you really going to let a second tortilla get in the way of your goal?
- Are you really going to let a lousy spoonful of peanut butter get in the way of your goal?
The answer is always No! I’m not going to let these little things get in the way of my big goals.
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The sleep connection to weight loss
I’m a great sleeper, and I have loads of (caffeine assisted) energy throughout the day. I’ve never been interested in sleep science or trying to get better sleep I get to bed by 9pm every night. I like sleeping 6-8 hours a night, and I really like getting up at 4am to go to the gym. 4am is the best time to avoid crowds and get every machine you want without waiting! It’s my FAVORITE time of day.
So, when I really started looking at my food choices, it was clear to me on the days I had closer to 6 hours of sleep I noticed,
- that I craved more high calorie, sugary food.
- I started my meals earlier, thereby consuming more meals throughout the day
- The window for eating is smaller- I don’t eat when I’m sleeping!
- I foraged for food to keep my energy up,
- And I felt impulsive and unable to make smart choices.
And oppositely, when my watch showed I had 8 hours of sleep,
- I thought about food less
- My meals were properly spaced throughout the day
- I didn’t look for snacks every time I stood up
- And I could look at food choices objectively and without emotion!
Obviously, this is my experience, and your mileage may vary. But it HAS been helpful in my journey to make sure I’m on the 8 hour side of sleep, even if it means I’m in bed at 8pm some nights.
What does the sleep science say?
The things I was experience have been backed up by research! Here’s a few things I found
People eat less calories when their sleep is sufficient:
- This study showed, “Disturbed sleeping patterns lead to increased energy intake, partly from excessive snacking, mainly on foods high in fat and carbohydrates.” (source Nutrients Pub)
- This study showed: “Individuals who increased their sleep duration were able to reduce their caloric intake by an average of 270 kcal per day” (source University of Chicago Medicine)
In addition, there have been studies specifically about appetite and metabolism Hormones:
- From one report, “Laboratory studies have clearly shown that sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism, that is, decreased leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels.” (Source, Endocrinology)
So, what’s there to lose! I think sacrificing a little gym time to get that 8 hours of sleep might be worth it in the end.
What do you think? Have you noticed you eat more when you’re sleep deprived?