Not getting enough sleep makes losing weight nearly impossible. Here are three ways sleep deprivation works against you and sabotages your weight loss efforts:
1. Impact of specific areas of the brain that control appetite.
2. Changes hormones that trigger hunger and specific food cravings
3. Increases the blood level of endocannabinoid.
Not getting adequate amounts of sleep affects two areas of the brain that determine what you choose to eat. The frontal lobe and primal brain regions. The frontal lobe is responsible for complex decision making. The frontal lobe helps you reason “I am trying to lose weight. Do I really want to eat all those calories found in French fries? “ Primal brain regions are associated with motivation and seeking rewards. When the primal brain overrules the frontal lobe, you rationalize and go for the fries.
Sleep deprivation also changes 3 hormones related to hunger: ghrelin, leptin, and cortisol. Ghrelin is secreted from the gut and stimulates the hunger centers of the brain. Leptin tells you to stop eating. Leptin signals to the brain “I have had enough to eat. I can stop eating now”. Sleep deprivation causes a increase in ghrelin and an decrease in leptin. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels. Cortisol causes you to crave foods.
Lack of sleep affects the endocannabionoid system. The endocannabionoid system(ECS) is stimulated by endocannabionoids. Endocannabionoids affect the body in a manner similar to how marijuana affects the body. Endocannabionoids increases appetite and cravings for sweets and fats. Two types of endocannabionoid receptors have been identified. Endocannabionoid receptors occur mainly in the brain but are found throughout the body.
Willpower does not overcome the effects of sleep deprivation. People short on sleep crave sweet, salty, high caloric foods. The best way to reduce your craving is to get the proper amount of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation adults 18-64 years old need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Older adults need 7-8 hours. Teenagers and younger children need more than 9 hours of sleep per night.