Lack of Sleep and Hunger Cues

Jun 19, 2019

Are you getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Do you notice yourself wanting to grab junk food during your mid-day slump? Are you experiencing unwanted weight gain?

Your lack of sleep could be affecting your hunger cues!

Research reveals that a lack of sleep is linked to overeating which can lead to weight gain. The hunger hormones affected by your sleep routine are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite while leptin decreases it. When you are not getting adequate time for rest, ghrelin increases and leptin decreases. As a result, you begin to notice your hunger cues spike. When your hunger is on a rampage, you may notice that you feel lethargic and have cravings for foods that you know you shouldn’t be eating. Research shows that food supplies you with energy, so your body’s cue to eat some extra calories is actually a way to help you get enough energy to make it through your day. However, these cravings that cause you to overeat actually could be prevented by simply ensuring that you get enough shut eye.

Getting adequate sleep can decrease the likelihood of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. Furthermore, sleep allows your body time to heal and repair muscles and vessels, improve energy and mood and enhance mental health. To ensure you are getting enough shut eye, you should aim to:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Turn off all distractions/allow yourself to unwind at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy meals 2-3 hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily but limit to at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Keep a quiet, dimmed and cool environment in your bedroom.
  • Try meditation, a warm bath or other relaxing techniques before bed.

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Health Advisor | Email Casey


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