Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Sleep myself thin?

on March 28, 2011

I have been watching what I eat, exercising and getting plenty of water…but I’m still not losing weight. Frustrated, I Googled “Why aren’t I losing weight?” and much to my surprise an article popped up about sleep. Sleep?! I know sleep is when my muscles repair blah blah – but what does it have to do with shrinking my waist line?

Apparently, a lot!

Leptin and ghrelin work in a kind of “checks and balances” system to control feelings of hunger and fullness, explains Michael Breus, PhD, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and director of The Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern Lung Care in Atlanta. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full.

So what’s the connection to sleep? “When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food,” Breus tells WebMD.

I would estimate I get 5-6 hours most nights and every article I find says you should aim for 7-9! Is anyone out there getting 7-9 hours every night?! That seems high.

Lately however, I have not been sleeping well. I’m hot, I’m cold, I have 5,000 things on my brain (who doesn’t?!)….or I’m on call. I take a pager for work once a month and while I have never slept through it, I am always paranoid I will!  So, I relinquish the pager away this morning and I need to focus on getting some sleep tonight. I have a sound machine (the kind that plays soothing ocean waves to help you sleep), I make it a point not to watch TV or read in my room (because light is a stimulant and prevents you from getting adequate rest)….what else can I do to help myself get some rest?? Stretching? Counting sheep? I’ll take any recommendations!

Does anyone else see a correlation between their current sleep and their weight? I thought back to my thinnest adult weight and I was exercising so much that I was exhausted and slept for 7 hours + easily.  Interesting!



8 responses to “Sleep myself thin?

  1. Curt says:

    If I don’t get 7-8 hours a night I get crabby. Do that for 4-5 nights and I’ll turn evil… I love my sleep, I’d rather give up food than sleep.

  2. I generally get 6-7 on weeknights, but am happiest when I manage 8-9.

  3. Badriya says:

    I definitely notice increased appetite on days after not enough hours of sleep at night. I make it even worse by justifying eating more with the excuse that I need more energy.

    I do best on 8-9 hours of sleep but typically get 5.5 to 6.5 hours. After day three or four of that I know that I am prone to stupid mistakes and am noticeably clumsier and generally inept all around. I’ve read sleep articles that say after a few days of not enough sleep you are as impaired as you would be if you were drunk, and I believe it :-/

  4. ninamholland says:

    I have really bizarre sleep habits and I can definitely tell a difference in my body if I’m not getting enough of it or on a regular basis!
    And this is really funny that you should post this because lately I’ve been trying to go to bed early to make sure I get 9 hours 🙂

    And the trick I’ve discovered for falling asleep and letting go of stress/worries/anxiety is to do a little bit of yoga and meditation every day before bed and when you get up.

    It’s truly amazing what ‘yoga breathing’ can do for you mentally! It calms me done like nothing else- hope this helps 🙂 🙂
    Have a great Monday!

  5. Lily says:

    I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to shift baby weight – for the first few months you’re sleeping in 1-2 hour stretches here and there. And I can confirm that for those first few months I was hungry ALL THE TIME, even though I was eating enough (and carrying enough extra weight to support gallons of milk production). I still don’t get enough sleep (probably 7-8 hours on a good night), but with two kids I have given up any pretense of being able to stay up much past 10, and I do try and start MY bedtime by 9pm (which means I spend an hour picking out the next day’s outfit, primping, enjoying time without toddlers clinging to me, and catching up on FB).

    In terms of getting to sleep – I keep a well-worn copy of a FoxTrot comic book next to my bed, and read a few pages every night. It’s not like I’ll get sucked in, because a) it’s a comic book and b) I’ve read it about 8 million times before, but it takes my mind of my day and lets me zone out a bit before sleeping. (No laughing…it works!)

  6. I’m so glad you asked about this. Lately I have been determined to get 7 hours of sleep a night as I realize I just function better on that. Plus, the scale in the morning seems to like it better. With less sleep it seems the scale goes up, like my food didn’t digest yet as it didn’t have enough time. I know that’s stupid but that was my thought. Then I read a similar article and figured I was at least correct that I need at least 7 hours.

    Recently I went to a seminar that stated the best way to get a good nights sleep and fall asleep is to think of 3 great things that happened to you during that day and why. You’ll realize they happened because of something you likely did. Supposedly gratitude helps you sleep better and feeling gracious of oneself gives you that ahhh feeling for sleep. I’ll admit, I do tend to fall asleep faster and with a smile. Not sure if I’m sleep better but I feel good anyway. LOL Try it and see if it works for you.

  7. anne says:

    if im overtired i comfort eat

  8. IntrigueMe says:

    My body naturally wakes up after about 9 hours of sleep… and in a typical night I get 5-7, so I know I’m not getting enough. One of my new weight loss goals is going to be bedtime at 10pm.

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