A recent study in the journal Nature Communications found depriving people of sleep for just one night increased cravings for junk food and decreased rational eating decisions in the frontal cortex.
You might be familiar with the unfortunate aftermath of a crappy night's sleep as you sheepishly order a red-velvet doughnut or gooey cheese Danish with your gargantuan morning java, sending you on a downward spiral of hunger, cravings and storing fat throughout your day as blood-sugar levels spike and crash.
Hormonal imbalances underlie these eating debacles. Simply put, lack of sleep adversely affects numerous hormones, so you're more likely to store than burn fat.
Let's look at seven fat-regulating hormones that become imbalanced with too little sleep and set the stage for fat gain, obesity and numerous diseases.
- Leptin. Leptin tells your brain that you're full and regulates metabolism so you burn more fat when your body needs to. For fat loss, you want plenty of leptin circulating, but you also want your brain to get its message. A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded sleep duration influences leptin production, which in turn adversely affects other hormones like cortisol and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Researchers concluded that "sleep modulates a major component of the neuroendocrine control of appetite."
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