The Importance of Sleep

Hi Three to Five Tribe! I’ve said it once and I will say it again, sleep is so incredibly important, not just for optimal health, but for your waistline as well. I recently had the honor and privilege of attending aSweatLife’s Sweat Working Summit in Chicago and although it was an amazing event, I did not clock enough sleep leading up to the event, which lead to a major sugar binge throughout the event and even well into the evening after the event had concluded. For a second I was semi freaking out thinking I was recsorting back to old behaviors and patterns (aka binge eating), but then I remembered two important hormones that are completely inhibited when we have a lack of sleep: ghrelin and leptin. As a reminder, ghrelin stimulates appetite while leptin decreases it.

When we are sleep deprived, ghrelin spikes while leptin decreases, ultimately leading to an increase in hunger. Think about it. Your body hasn’t gotten enough rest from a good night’s sleep so it literally has no stored energy to properly function,. The only option your body has left is to resort to stimulants like caffeine and sugar for a quick hit of energy. Your body is a lot smarter than we give it credit for and it knows which foods will give us energy fast and unfortunately, those foods happen to be the ones that are not the very best for us.

As an added bonus, when we don’t get enough sleep, a lipid known as endocannabinoid, is elevated in the blood, which essentially has the same effect on the brain as marijuana. This makes the act of eating way more enjoyable, especially at night. Of course we aren’t talking about healthy fresh foods like broccoli or chicken, we are talking about candy, chocolate and sugary desserts. (12 bite sized pieces of citrus baklava – don’t mind if I do!)

The National Sleep Foundation reports individuals who don’t get enough sleep at night eat twice as much food and 300+ calories a day. (No judgement, I clocked a total of 3,000 calories the day I only clocked 3 hours of sleep). Obviously this is not a good thing, but I know enough about my body to know that I was not falling back into old behaviors of binge eating, but instead, I just needed a good night’s sleep.

The next time you notice yourself reaching for beverages and foods that are not normally in your daily diet, consider you may not be getting enough sleep every day and make a valiant effort to adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate additional shut eye each night. Your waistline will thank you!

Sleeping three to five extra hours of sleep each week,

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