Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand. Sometimes I'll even tell clients that it's more important than exercise or nutrition. So, why is it so hard for us to get enough of it? Especially when it's so darn good for us! Today, I'm taking a look at why sleep is critical for weight loss and how you can start to get more of it tonight!

Hormones // Sleep // Weight Loss

When you don't get enough sleep you aren't just cranky and tired, your hormones get thrown out of whack. There are several key hormones that are greatly impacted when you don't get enough sleep and they have a direct impact on your feelings of hunger and satiation. 

Leptin is the hormone that tells us that we are full and have had enough to eat. Have you ever felt like you're a bottomless pit and could just eat all day? It's probably because you didn't get enough sleep the night before and now your leptin is all wacked out. Just one night of poor sleep can throw you off. 

Ghrelin is the other hormone that is deeply affected by lack of sleep. Ghrelin is our hunger hormone and tells our brains when we need food. So, when you are short on shut eye you produce more ghrelin which makes you feel hungrier and crave unhealthy foods. 

So, mix an increase in ghrelin, your hunger hormone, with a decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells you when you're full and you're much more likely to overindulge. 

Grehlin and leptin aren't the only two hormones that get thrown off when you don't get enough sleep. Lack of sleep also impacts your cortisol. Cortisol is your stress hormone and it skyrockets when you're exhausted. Then, guess what happens? You feel more anxious and stressed! Not fun. Increased cortisol levels also cause your body to hold onto weight, so less sleep makes it harder to get your body to where you want it to be. 

Sleep More Soundly Tonight

So, now you can see that when you don't get enough sleep your body goes into chaos mode. Your hormones freak out, you have cravings and your body holds onto weight. Eeek! Take these steps tonight to get a better nights rest and wake up feeling refreshed!

1. Climb in Bed 30 Minutes Early :: Start small by getting in bed just 30 minutes before your normal bedtime tonight. Every little bit counts!

2. De-Tech :: Try not to look at any kind of screen 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. This includes your television, cell phone and iPad. These screens emit blue light which inhibit the production of melatonin which is your sleep hormone. Read a book and drink a cup of tea before bed instead. 

3. Make your Bedroom Your Sanctuary :: Make your bed in the morning so that it feels fresh, neat and clean when you climb into it at night. Be sure to close all of your blinds and turn off every single light; the darker the better. Try spraying some lavender on your pillows to induce a calming feeling and even play some relaxing music while you're getting ready to fall asleep. Also, don't bring your work or any kind of stress into your bedroom. It is a place of peace and rest so do your best to keep it that way. 

4. Write Your To-Do List: Many people struggle to fall asleep because they feel like their minds race right when they crawl in bed. To help calm the mind, try writing out your to-do list for the following day before you crawl in bed. Even write out action items to help you accomplish these things so that you can go to bed knowing that you have a plan of attack for the following morning. 

Sleep isn't the only thing that impacts weight and overall health but it plays a HUGE part, so don't take it lightly. Try implementing some of these strategies tonight and notice the difference tomorrow. Rest up!