How does sleep affect Appetite?

Why Do I feel so hungry after a poor night of sleep? 

We have all been there. Trying our best to stick to our healthy eating habits, but we are just plain HUNGRY. Looking back at the last few days you try to rationalize what is different. Nothing really has changed…well except you haven’t slept well in the last 3 nights. 

So many people don’t understand how powerful of an affect sleep has on your appetite. Getting too little sleep can alter the way your brain makes decisions about food and can disturb our hormone levels, making us feel hungrier. 

Stable leptin levels (the hormone that signals our brain that we are “full”) are extremely important when looking at weight management and appetite. Leptin levels decrease when sleep is affected, and even worse grhelin (the hormone that stimulates appetiite) levels increase. 

Not only does sleep affect these hormones, but it also affects brain function. If you are tried your impulsivity is increased, thus making it harder to think twice before reaching for that donut in the break room. Lack of sleep also stimulates the reward center in our brains, so we tend to not only reach for that donut, but we rationalize that we deserve it. 

Stress and mood are also directly related to sleep. If you aren’t sleeping you most likely are also experiencing higher levels of stress and poor moods or mood swings. When stress is high and mood is low we tend to see “stress eating” or food used as a way to cope or make ourselves feel better. We also see overeating during the day due to lack of energy from too little sleep. 

Sleep is so much more important than most people think. It’s not just a time to rest your body and mind, it is necessary to keep your body’s systems in check and helps us manage appetite and healthful eating. 

If you are having trouble managing your weight, stress and moods, take a look at your sleep habits and make sure you are getting enough sleep!!! 

Live well, be well.