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Sleep and Your Weight


Do you feel tired or exhausted but still can’t fall asleep at night?

Do you have trouble staying asleep?

Are you clocking 7-8 hours in bed but still wake up tired in the morning?

If you don’t sleep well and are struggling with your weight, then read on for the surprising connection that could be a missing piece for you.

Poor quality sleep is linked to weight loss resistance and weight gain.

There has been a great deal of research investigating the link between sleep and weight.   A recent review paper looked at data from multiple studies and concluded that people who don’t get enough sleep are heavier and gain more weight over time compared to people who do.  The paper also noted that poor sleep quality leads to a reduced ability to lose weight.

Here’s why researchers believe inadequate sleep is tied to weight gain:

      • Disruption of appetite-regulating hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, making you hungrier, kicking up cravings, and increasing fat storage – regardless of what you eat.
      • Changes in energy balance in the body.
      • A chronic elevation in cortisol which promotes belly fat storage, breaks down lean muscle, and can interfere with healthy thyroid function, slowing down your metabolism.

In addition to the connection with weight gain, not sleeping well on a regular basis can contribute to a large number of other health problems – accelerated aging, depression, heart disease, impaired brain function, and decreased libido are just a few.

Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can have a huge impact on your weight and health overall.

Here are my top recommendations – day and night- to get you started:


Make sure you’re getting enough protein.  Brand new research just published this month showed that people eating a higher protein diet experienced a significant improvement in their sleep.  How much protein did it take?  Improvement was seen at 0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.  For example, a 150 lb person would have a target intake of 102 grams of protein per day.  Don’t worry too much about hitting your number exactly…the point is to make sure you’re getting close!

Keep your blood sugar stable.  The best way to support this is to spread protein out across your meals (and snacks if you need them), and always include a source of good quality fat and fiber alongside.

Watch your caffeine.
Too much caffeine or having it too late in the day keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle of poor sleep…you don’t sleep well, so you need caffeine to get you through your day, but then you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep because you’re too keyed up…and then you need more caffeine again the next day!  Work on reducing your caffeine intake overall, and avoid it after 1:00 PM.

Get out in the natural light.  Exposure to UV light – whether it’s sunny or not, and especially early in the day – helps improve the sleep/wake cycle.



Turn off electronics.  Shut down (or put away) your smartphone, tablet, television, or electronic reader at least an hour before bedtime.  The blue light emitted from these devices stops your body from producing melatonin – the sleep hormone.  Yes, there are things like F.lux software, amber colored glasses and a blue light dimmer on the new Apple iOS release that address the blue light issue, but the electronic stimulus still keeps your mind going when it should be winding down and preparing for sleep in that hour before bed.

Make your bedroom a haven.  Create a space that feels relaxing, quiet, and cool.  Total darkness is key to deep sleep too, so use blackout shades/heavy curtains and cover up bright alarm clocks or other light sources from televisions or smoke detectors.  Keep your bedroom reserved for sleep and sex – no working or paying bills in bed!

Try supplements for additional support.  To help establish restorative sleep patterns, I will recommend certain herbs/nutrients to my patients if needed.  A few of my favorites are Sedalin, Kavinace, Seriphos, and Calm CP.

Check your mindset.  It’s important to recognize that you didn’t develop a poor sleep pattern overnight, so creating a healthy sleep/wake cycle won’t happen quickly either.  Be patient with yourself and allow some time for your body to shift into the rejuvenating sleep you need.

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To Your Balance, Harmony and Vitality,

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