Nutritious Nuggets: Is Less Sleep Blocking Your Goals?

When it comes to our fitness and physique goals we put a lot of emphasis on exercise and nutrition, and rightfully so. If you are feeling on point with your workouts and meals but are still not seeing any changes, especially in weight loss it may be good to evaluate your sleep.

Sleep is vital. We’ve all “woken up on the wrong side of the bed” and felt our mood and energy change based on the amount of sleep we got. However, a lack of sleep can cause a lot more problems than just being cranky. More than a third of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night and many people don’t even know how much sleep they get a night.

Here are some signs you may be sleep deprived:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Increased stress
  • Low mood
  • Get sick a lot
  • Weight gain/struggle with weight loss
  • Food cravings
  • Workouts feel too hard
  • Lower energy
  • Reduced desire to exercise or move

If any of these resonate with you it may be time to up those ZZZZ’s. Lack of sleep effects our hormones which can create havoc on our nervous system, metabolism, and daily functions. Some studies show getting only two consecutive nights of poor sleep (~4 hours) can start changing your metabolism.

How does lack of sleep impact your fitness and weight loss goals? Let’s count the ways…

  1. Makes you more insulin resistant (aka your body will store more body fat and will make it harder to get rid of it)
  2. Can increase muscle loss
  3. Negatively impacts your hormones (Ghrelin-your hormone that tells you to eat increase and leptin-your hormone that tells you to stop eating decrease. This leads to bad food cravings and increased hunger…which we know will likely lead to weight gain)

So these are a pretty big deal and should encourage you to take a deep dive look at your sleeping patterns to make sure you are not falling into the sleep deprivation black hole.

What should I do?

Before you make any major changes first be an observer. Keep a sleep diary or even use a sleep tracking app…there are lots out there. Track the amount of sleep (roughly) you are getting every night for one to two weeks. If you are consistently hitting less than 7 hours of sleep then you will likely need to make some adjustments. We will talk about how to improve your sleep next week so stay tuned!