Don't Underestimate the Power of Sleep

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.

Did you know getting adequate sleep every night is critical for supporting healthy weight, metabolism, and mental health? If you’ve undergone weight loss surgery, you understand the importance of healthy habits, diet, and exercise to reach your goals. But what about sleep? In this blog post, we will discuss how sleep impacts weight loss outcomes, the importance of regulating your metabolism, and how a lack of ZZZs can lead to mood disorders. Get ready to be surprised by the power sleep has on your health!

1) The science of sleep & weight loss. Did you know adequate sleep can actually help you lose weight? Sleep deprivation can increase appetite and hunger, making you more inclined to reach for high-calorie, not-so-healthy foods. According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep helps regulate hunger hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, both of which influence our feeling of fullness and satiety. Evidence suggests that sleep-deprived individuals reach for calorie-dense foods and consume significantly more calories than those who sleep for the recommended seven to nine hours a night. By prioritizing quality sleep, you provide the best environment for weight loss success.

2) Regulating metabolism. A healthy metabolism is essential for weight loss after surgery, but blood sugar levels and hormone regulation can be affected by a lack of sleep. Specifically, when we don’t sleep enough, cortisol levels increase, leading to higher blood sugar levels and a hormonal breakdown of muscle tissue. The opposite is true of getting enough sleep. Hormone production is regulated, and insulin sensitivity improves, leading to better blood sugar control and more efficient weight loss. Keep in mind that regulating your metabolism isn’t a one-time thing... Consistent healthy sleep is critical for efficient metabolism and weight loss success.

3) Mood & mental health. Speaking of hormones, did you know that sleep deprivation can lead to mood disorders? The link between sleep and mental health is strong. Sleep helps regulate the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Insomnia and general sleep disturbance have been shown to be significant risk factors for depression and anxiety. Getting enough sleep can improve emotional regulation, reducing the risk of anxiety and depression and regulating mood more generally.

4) Tips to improve your sleep. If you're struggling to get enough sleep, there are several things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your rest:

  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine late in the day
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Limit screen time before bed

Sleep is not just a luxury. It's a necessity. You must prioritize sleep to maintain a healthy weight, boost your metabolism, and improve your mental health. Don't underestimate the power of sleep. By making a few small changes to your routine, you can improve your sleep quality and enjoy the many benefits that come with it. So, turn off your phone, dim the lights, and get some rest. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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