Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN
Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients.
We all know that sleep is essential, but did you know that it can significantly impact your weight loss journey? It may seem like getting enough sleep is just one piece of the puzzle, but it actually plays a crucial role in your overall health and well-being. In fact, a lack of sleep can cause a domino effect in all other areas of your life, making those lifestyle changes hard to stick to and goals hard to reach. Let’s see just how important those ZZZs are.
1) Hormone imbalances. First and foremost, lack of sleep can affect your hormone levels. And boy, do hormones control a lot in our bodies and minds! When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, and less of the hormone leptin, which signals fullness. This means you're more likely to overeat and make poor food choices when sleep-deprived! And let's be honest — we've all had those days where we're so tired that we just grab the first sugary snack we see to give us a quick energy boost. Not to mention, when our hunger and fullness levels are off, our blood glucose levels can get wacky. And when we get wacky, do we really feel like doing all those other things like exercising and taking care of ourselves?
2) Metabolism. But it's not just about what you eat. Lack of sleep also affects your metabolism, which can slow down and make it harder for your body to burn calories efficiently. This means that even if you're sticking to a healthy eating plan and exercising regularly, you might not see the results you're hoping for if you're not getting enough rest.
3) Mental wellness. Let's not forget about the mental impact of a lack of sleep. When you're tired, you're more likely to feel irritable, anxious, and depressed. Talk about wacky hormones — just Google “cortisol”. These feelings can lead to stress eating and other unhealthy coping mechanisms that sabotage your weight loss goals.
4) How much do we need? So how much sleep should you be aiming for? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Of course, everyone's needs are different, so you may need more or less depending on your body and lifestyle. The important thing is to prioritize sleep and make it a non-negotiable part of your self-care routine.
5) How to get more sleep. There are plenty of strategies you can use to improve your sleep. For one, stick to a sleep schedule. It’s best if your body knows what to expect. Begin to wind down a couple of hours up to an hour before bed by putting away all devices to avoid blue light that has been proven to affect sleep. Try doing something relaxing like reading a book, watching a calm and non-engaging TV show (if you insist on watching television before bed), or listening to sleep meditations. Exercising daily will also help you to be more tired by the end of the day for a good night’s rest.
In conclusion, getting enough sleep is critical for weight management after weight loss surgery. It affects your hormones, metabolism, and mental well-being, all of which play a major role in your ability to make healthy choices and see results. So, if you want to set yourself up for success, make sleep a top priority in your weight loss journey.
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.