Bad Sleeping Habits

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Lack of Sleep

One of the more surprising reasons for weight gain is lack of sleep.

Take your typical young mother of small children – what she often lacks most is sleep.  We tend to talk about mums putting on weight after having babies but usually attribute this to the pregnancy process.  But this may not be the whole story.

Most mums (and dads) will be sleep deprived at some point in the early years of being parents. If you average 2 years of sleep deprivation per child, it can become a chronic situation. If weight gain is linked to sleep no wonder new parents struggle to get back into their skinny jeans. And no wonder those fortunate enough to have a nanny can flaunt around with their ‘back to normal’ body shapes.

It is commonly thought that an adult needs about 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night.  Put a baby into the mix and mum or dad may be getting up to feed the baby once or twice a night, the baby then progresses on to become a teething or sleepless toddler. At about this time another baby may arrive, and you now have baby feeds and toddler teething events happening in the night.

If sleep deprivation causes weight gain, it’s a miracle that we aren’t all fatter.

And of course, there are lots of other reasons that we struggle to sleep, such as; –  stress, eating too late, not being able to ‘switch off’, noise, being too hot or cold, being older – etc.


So, what happens when we lack sleep?

Lack of sleep has an effect on our appetite regulation. This leads us to consume more calories over time.  And we all know that when we are tired, we make poor food choices, it’s so easy to reach for the biscuits, chips, or order a take away/take out instead of cooking.

As we have seen HERE it only takes a few extra calories per day to have a big effect over the course of a year or so.

A study from King’s College London found that; – ‘sleep-deprived people consumed an average of 385 kcal per day extra, which is equivalent to the calories of about four and a half slices of bread.’  [2]


What’s going on

There are two hormones that affect our appetite, Leptin and Ghrelin.

If you’re trying to lose weight (or not put it on) Leptin is your friend. The leptin hormone is created in your fat cells and amongst other things is responsible for sending messages to your brain telling it that you have enough fat stored and don’t need to eat anymore.  It also tells your body that it can burn calories at the normal rate.

Ghrelin is not your friend. The hormone Ghrelin is produced in the stomach. It too sends messages to the brain. But this time the messages tell the brain to eat more.

An article in the Scientific American references a study to do with the effects of lack of sleep on these hormones. ‘The study subjects suffering a lack of sleep had 16 percent less leptin and nearly 15 percent more ghrelin than those who were well rested did.’ [1]


How can we get enough sleep?

If you’re currently in the baby toddler stage, it’s difficult.  But if you realise how important it is to get a good night’s sleep maybe you can come up with a plan.  Such as –

Alternate nights on and off with your partner.
Get granny over – she’ll love more time with the grandkids!
Arrange sleepovers with friends.
Hire a temporary / occasional nanny or even a friend.
Sleep when baby sleeps.

If you can’t sleep for one of the many other reasons you may need to find ways to develop a ‘going to bed schedule’ such as –

Limit the use of electronic devices at bedtime.
Read a good old-fashioned book at bedtime.
Reduce the light in your bedroom. Turn all the lights off and invest in some blackout blinds.
Organize your morning routines the night before so that you can lie in a bit longer.
Go to bed earlier.

Try an all natural (non addictive) sleep remedy, such as SLEEPLY.

Getting enough sleep will also help you feel sharper, function better and be more active.


More Articles:

How to Use Your Free Weight Loss Journal

What is a Weight Loss Journal

Weight Loss Journal Ideas

Best Free Apps for Weight Loss Journaling

Are Calories Bad

Funny Weight Loss Memes

Facts About The Liver And Weight Gain


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[1]   Accessed 17/11/2022

[2],a%20half%20slices%20of%20bread  Accessed 17/11/ 2022


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