Losing Weight While Sleeping: Body's Hidden Superpower

Weight loss seems unachievable until you understand exactly why you need it and take small steps every day to make it happen. Sometimes this step can be as simple as letting yourself sleep more ‒ keep reading to find out why.

The duo responsible for your hunger

We’ve already learned about melatonin, the so-called vampire hormone, which is secreted only when it gets dark so the body knows it’s time to go to bed. But when your brain is asleep, all of the other hormones in your body don’t feel like taking a nap. Including the ones responsible for the urge to go grab a snack that you have hidden somewhere “just in case”.

The names of the sweet couple that’s in control of your sense of hunger are Leptin and Ghrelin ‒ and no, those are not hobbit names. Just as it often happens in love life, these two opposites are inseparable and exist in harmony only when they balance each other out.

Leptin is the satiety hormone which is secreted primarily in fat cells. It decreases hunger. Normally, when you’ve had a good nutritious meal, more leptin is produced and you have less or no appetite, i.e. your brain knows you’re full.

Ghrelin is the antagonist to Leptin. It is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach and it increases hunger. Its production rises when your stomach is empty and practically stops when you’re full.

Less sleep = more appetite

Now we know that appetite is regulated by leptin and ghrelin ‒ but what does it have to do with sleeping?

Well, it’s been scientifically proven that less sleep makes you want to eat more often and, therefore, even gain weight. In one of her studies Dr. Eve Van Cauter at the University of California investigated how one week of short sleep in healthy young adults of normal weight will influence levels of leptin and ghrelin produced. Each day the participants were given the same amount of food, prescribed the same amount of physical activity and the same amount of sleep ‒ four to five hours a night as compared to eight hours they’d normally get.

The result came quicker than expected: on the second day of such sleep deprivation the individuals reported feeling a strong rise of hunger pangs as well as unexpected increased appetite. Inadequate sleep amplified ghrelin’s “I’m hungry” signal to the brain while muting or completely removing leptin’s “I’m full” signal. The hunger duo drives you in the overeating direction because of your short sleep, however good it can be. Even if you’re wearing your earplugs or sleep mask for undisturbed sleep.

So… Can I lose weight while sleeping?

It’s not like you’re going to burn the fat cells simply by sleeping well ‒ and you need to understand this. But a successful weight loss formula always has mindfulness in it, right? And now you know how being mindful about the amount of sleep you get can help you control satiety and facilitate the process.

Take care and love yourself in any form ‒ and you’ll achieve every goal you set.

We at PQ believe in you.

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