Everything from your metabolism, hunger hormone, and stress response is influenced by how much and how well you sleep. And these factors all contribute toward maintaining a healthy weight. According to double board-certified clinical psychologist and clinical sleep specialist, Dr. Michael J. Breus (via Sleep Doctor), a slowing down of metabolism is one effect of sleep deprivation. “There’s a very specific reason for this. It’s because you’re awake and your brain is saying, ‘Why the heck am I awake? I better slow down using those resources because I might need them for energy later on.’ So your metabolism begins to slow down.”
Furthermore, your hunger hormone, ghrelin, and satiation hormone, leptin, are also regulated during sleep, so a lack of proper rest can throw these chemicals into chaos, so to speak. Per board-certified internist and expert in the fields of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, sleep, and pain, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum (via CNN Health), “People have less of a sense of satiety if they’re not getting enough sleep.” This means that you’re likely to have food cravings or increased hunger when you haven’t gotten proper rest.
A lack of sleep is also linked with an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Again, this can result in weight gain, because people are prone to craving high-fat or high-caloric foods that increase serotonin levels in their brain when they are stressed, shared Dr. Breus. Practicing proper sleep hygiene and incorporating a few nighttime rituals can aid you in your journey to lose weight.