Today we’re going to jump right in to the science of hunger.
Scientists tell us that getting enough good quality sleep plays a massive part in weight loss. It’s no surprise studies have shown that people who haven’t slept well spend the next feeling tired, but what might be more of a surprise is they also feel more hungry. As we’ve mentioned in an earlier post, sleep-deprived people tend to eat more, make poor food choices and emotionally-driven ones.
Ghrelin, the hunger hormone
Our bodies are regulated by hormones and one little known one is called ghrelin.
Ghrelin sends messages to your brain that prompt it to take action. It tells you when you need to eat, and when your body should stop burning calories and start to store energy as fat. It’s a complex survival instinct designed to help us cope in times of famine.
When our ghrelin level soars, it’s so much harder to think rationally about our eating choices because your body is just on survival mode.
When you sleep soundly, levels of this hunger hormone drop. On the other hand, people who don’t sleep well start the day with too much ghrelin floating round their system, insistently nagging away at their brain to take in extra calories. When we’re trying to lose weight, that’s the last thing we need.
Sleepless nights also lead to high levels of stress hormones and resistance to insulin, increasing the body’s struggles to balance our food intake and energy requirements.
If you’re thinking about making healthy lifestyle changes and/or would like to lose some weight, all the experts agree it makes sense to think about increasing your activity levels. One of the best ways to promote a great night’s sleep that will drive down your hunger hormone levels and increase your body’s insulin sensitivity is to find a form of exercise you love and want to take part in.
Any exercise you enjoy doing is a great first step towards a healthy, more deep and restful sleep. For us that’s hot yoga – any form of yoga will help relax you and reduce those pesky stress hormones!