What’s the Link between Sleep and Weight Loss?

Last week, I had 3 late nights in a row where I didn’t get enough sleep. This is unusual for me as I don’t really like to go out for late dinners, but sometimes these things happen.

The first night was an impromptu catch up with friends I had not seen in a long time. The second night was a hilarious comedy show which I had booked a month ago and the third night was a dear uncle’s 75th birthday. I enjoyed all the events thoroughly. Although, in typical Delhi style food was served late at all the events, past 10 pm.

The first night, I told the host that I wasn’t really hungry and didn’t eat much, just a few olives to accompany the wine and a couple of bites of a nice snack of oats. The second night I walked away from the food as I wasn’t hungry and the third, I was a bit hungry and succumbed to all the oily snacks served before the dinner!

So, what happened?!

This made me reflect on what made my resistance strong and connected to my body the first couple of nights and weak on the 3rd night.

leptinghrelinYou may have heard about the hormones ghrelin and leptin. They are any weight watchers friends as they are involved in a complex process of signalling hunger and fullness sensations to the body. One of the factors that interrupts their normal signalling is lack of sleep and I experienced this on the 3rd night.

When we don’t get adequate sleep, these critical hormones cannot function normally. This messes with the body’s signalling system that gets scrambled like a radio that can’t quite connect to the right frequency.

So what happens is that even though you may be feeling full, you feel like eating at the same time or the cravings for something salty or fried go up and you are unable to use your usual discretion. Another factor that scrambles the signalling is the consumption of high fat food!

I could see this happening quite clearly as after my fried snacks blowout, the next morning. I had a morning meeting at a friends place and they had prepared chillas among other things.

I saw myself  reach for my 3rd chilla despite eating my normal breakfast of 2-3 mangoes. Usually the fruit in the morning is enough to keep me going till lunch but yesterday, not only did I succumb to the temptation of an oily chilla but also overate without any reason.

How I recovered from the slippery slope

Today, after a restful 8 hour sleep and my  usual light and raw dinner, I feel energetic and more in touch with my hunger and fullness sensations. So my lessons from this incident are:

  1. Don’t do more than 2 late nights in a row, preferably one. Get enough sleep.
  2. Do not arrive hungry at a function where you are not sure what will be served at your prime hunger time. Eat a healthy snack beforehand.

So, if you are watching your weight, make sure you get your beauty zzzzz which will help you stay away from fried or other indulgences which in turn will help you make better eating decisions.

Let me know if this article was of help to you in the comments section below.

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