The Effects of Sleep and Stress on Weight Loss

Leptin-- The Appetite Hormone

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Leptin is a hormone released by the bodies fat cells. When functioning properly leptin sends a signal to the part of your brain that controls how much you eat.

This signal decreases appetite so you can go longer without eating thus allowing the body to use its fat stores as energy resulting in weight loss.

Do Higher Levels of Leptin Lead to Weight Loss?

You would think the more leptin the better, right?

It is true that the more fat cells you have, the more leptin is secreted, but if you have excess body fat and too much leptin is constantly being released, your brain becomes numb to its response-- This is called leptin resistance.

What Happens with Leptin Resistance?

The brain doesn’t perceive that enough food has come in, so it believes it is in starvation mode. The metabolism slows down to burn less calories to conserve energy and the the brain does not turn off its hunger signals so appetite remains elevated resulting in overeating.

What Causes Leptin Resistance?

  1. Stress

  • Stress comes in many forms:

    Mental Stress- Studying for a big exam, financial struggles, relationship problems.

    Physical stress- Overexercising, over exerting your body regularly.

    WHAT TO DO?

  • Listen to your body. If you wake up super sore or tired then skip the gym and opt for something more restorative like going for a walk while listening to your favorite podcast, spending a half hour stretching or meditating, or taking a relaxing yoga class.

  • Try not to exercise within three hours of your bed time.


2. Lack of sleep -

Sleep is key to hormone regulation. Not getting sufficient sleep each night and/or having a sleep disorder can affect leptin concentrations in the blood and make weight loss that much more difficult.

WHAT TO DO?

  • Get a good night’s rest of 7-8 hours and see a doctor if you suspect you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea.


3. Having High Triglycerides-

This comes from a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates

Inflammation can occur both inside and outside of the body. Eating a diet filled with processed foods and sugar can cause chronic inflammation inside the body which can then manifest itself on the outside of the body.

WHAT TO DO?

  • Stick to a diet free from packaged and processed foods. Try eating unlimited non starchy vegetables, some plant based starches as your carb source (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas), and a moderate amount of lean protein.


4. Excessive toxin exposure-

Using chemical laden beauty and cleaning products have been found to disrupt the hormones in our bodies.

WHAT TO DO?

  • Buying organic, toxin free cosmetics and toiletries can get very expensive. Rather than going cold turkey and breaking the bank, try slowly swapping out products as you run out. Next time you’re in need of foundation, face wash, eyeliner, etc. head over to Beautycounter.com or 100percentpure.com.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15583226

https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/53/5/1253.long

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