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Why We Overeat: Lack of Sleep

We know that healthy portion sizes are the way to go if we're trying to slim down or maintain a healthy weight. So why is it that we're so quick to overdo it when it comes to eating? Health magazine suggests one reason may be that you're not getting enough Zs. When our bodies don't get the proper amount of sleep, two weight-related hormones are affected — leptin and ghrelin. These hormones are responsible for controlling your appetite and making you feel full. In a recent study, participants who slept for only fours hours had an 18 percent decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain you've had enough food. On the other hand, ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger, showed a 28 percent increase. That means if you're not getting enough sleep at night, chances are your appetite will be increased when you're awake, so you'll end up eating more than you would if you were well-rested. The problem is sleep-deprived people tend to reach for sugary, high-carb foods for quick energy and comfort, which translates to weight gain.

So break the cycle and be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. If you're feeling tired during the day, reach for a food that contains high-fiber carbs, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and whole-wheat pasta. Eat it with protein to feel full longer and have sustained energy.

Image Source: Getty
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biarose biarose 6 years
I also find that if I'm up late, when I could be asleep, I feel like snacking, which would just be extra calories that I wouldn't have even eaten if I'd gone to bed on time!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 6 years
So true.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 6 years
So true.
Camarogirl67 Camarogirl67 6 years
OK can't help myself but I read this in Jillian's book "Master Your Metabolism." I've also stopped eating carbs before bed, because doing so can prevent you reaching your sorely needed stage 4/level 4 sleep (when you release your biggest burst of human growth hormone for the day).
zeze zeze 6 years
Yup, this totally happens to me.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
This is SO true, and I also feel like being sleep deprived makes me want to eat unhealthy foods. Last week I was working every waking minute, and I found that I was craving foods like pizza, burgers, and french fries, which is SO not like me! @bluepuppybites - I know that in one of Jillian Michael's books (I think Master Your Metabolism), she specifically points out that all people crave sweets when their run down. I know this is certainly true for me as well.
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 6 years
Like bluepuppybites, I find it impossible to get a full night of sleep since my baby has been born. I work fulltime, so I can't even catch up during the day. I have been frustrated by the fact that in spite of exercising and gaining only the recommended amount of weight during my pregnancy, I'm still carrying around 15 extra pounds. I actually gained weight after leaving the hospital with my baby, and now I see that's probably related to my lack of sleep.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 6 years
I'm glad you posted this, I was just beginning to wonder why I just want anything sweet and can eat so much and not feel full. Ever since my second child was born I'm lucky to get more than 4 hours of sleep a day. I try to eat sensible but these cravings are worse than when I was pregnant!
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