Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Sleep and Weight Loss

    Did you know that on average, overweight people sleep 16 minutes less per day than do people of normal weight? In fact, data from the over 68,000 women followed in the Nurses’ Health Study, show that those who slept 5 hours or less per night were nearly a third more likely to gain 30 pounds than those who slept 7 hours a night.

    Some research has pointed to the hormone ghrelin (also called the “hunger hormone”) as the culprit. Ghrelin is produced in the stomach’s lining and stimulate appetite. Ghrelin is naturally produced by the body while we sleep, but not getting enough sleep can disrupt the balance and cause the body to produce too much ghrelin, leaving us with a pesky starving feeling.

    On the other hand, leptin is the hormone that helps us feel full. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study discovered that study participants who slept less had lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin – not exactly helpful to weight loss! In addition, lack of sleep can trigger poor food choices, leave you feeling too tired to exercise, and has even been linked to lower basil metabolic rate (the energy you expend each day doing normal activities).

    So how much sleep is enough? While most people aim for the 6 – 8 hour goal, it really is individualized.

    Take a look at how you feel in the morning – are you rested?
    Do you have energy for normal activities and then some?
    Keep a sleep journal to help you figure out your optimal hours of rest.

    With your FitBit, use the Diet-to-Go trackers to log your sleep each night. 


    Author: Kristen Ciuba
    Kristen is a Nutritionist at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. She tries to “practice what she preaches” by fitting in healthy foods and cooking, challenging exercise, and quality time with family and friends every day!  


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