How to Fight Food Cravings

“Sometimes late night food cravings simply mean you need to go to sleep earlier.” – Unknown

 Hi Three to Five Tribe! Update: I am almost finished with my second Whole30 for the year. #iamwhole30 A mere 1.5 days to go! Confession time: With a crazy summer schedule over the past few months, I have not been getting much sleep. #iamaninehourgirl I was recently listening to a new episode from one of my favorite podcasts, The Sustainable Dish Podcast with Diana Rodgers, where Diana interviewed Kirk Parsley about the importance of sleep and nutrition and how one affects the other. Many people do not realize how nutrition impacts sleep and how sleep (or lack thereof) affects nutrition. I found the podcast episode absolutely fascinating and wanted to share some nuggets of knowledge from it with all of you, my loyal Three to Five readers. Warning: This post gets a little sciencey, but it may help you understand how sleep impacts your good/bad nutrition habits. 

Stop the Cravings

There are two important hormones in the body that regulate appetite: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone” and increases hunger, while leptin is known as the “satiety hormone” and, as you probably guessed it, decreases hunger. Although both of these hormones are produced in separate parts of the body (ghrelin in the stomach and leptin in the fat cells), both of these hormones activate the hypothalamus (a small part of the brain about the size of an almond).

After just a single night of short sleep aka not enough sleep, these appetite regulating hormones can shift as much as 30% causing the body and its functions to become imbalanced. When a person is sleep deprived, blood flow decreases to the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This section of the brain is responsible for executive functioning like willpower and the ability to make sound decisions.

When you are suffering from lack of sleep, your delayed gratification or willpower is completely inhibited. You may even find yourself saying yes to foods you not normally eat like chips, cookies, and other sweets. This is because your judgement is impaired from lack of sleep (similar to when you are drunk) #justsayin. All of this is due to an increase of ghrelin. Think of ghrelin like the movie, “Gremlins.” If you feed those fuzzy little creatures after midnight they go crazy and well, just like the gremlins, if you do not get a good night’s sleep you will go food crazy too! So what can you do to fight these unwanted food cravings?

Go to Sleep!

As Bethenny Frankel reminded us in #RHNYC, just go to sleep! I know a simple concept like sleep may not come as easy to some of you (myself included), but I am not going to regurgitate all of the “tips and tricks on how to sleep better” because we have all read them countless times (make sure the room is dark, turn off all electronic devices 30-60 minutes before going to bed, keep the room cool, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah) I am just offering another friendly reminder as to why sleep is oh so important to us all!

Bottom line: Looking to kick the unwanted food cravings? Go to sleep! If you are interested in listening to the full interview with Diana and Kirk, you can access the podcast episode from the The Sustainable Dish on Diana’s site.

29 days down
1 day to go! (Notice how this is singular – ONE day)

Live Healthy, Happy, & Fabulously,

2 thoughts on “How to Fight Food Cravings

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