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Your sleep (or lack thereof) is sabotaging your fitness goals

Have you ever noticed that your mindless snacking tendencies tend to increase after a sleepless night? The grumbling in your stomach isn’t a coincidence. In addition to the bags under your eyes and a general feeling of lethargy, a lack of sleep leaves you with an insatiable hunger. How are your sleep schedule and stomach connected? We’ll tell you all about the science behind your munchies and how to curb the cravings in today’s post. 

As always… blame hormones

When you get a full night’s sleep, your body goes into restorative mode— filtering the day’s memories, recovering from stress, building new tissues, and producing hormones. Two of those hormones are leptin and ghrelin. 

Leptin is a peptide hormone that balances your body’s energy balance by reducing feelings of hunger and regulating fat storage. Ghrelin is leptin’s counterpart, boosting appetite, fat production, and growth. I bet you can guess which one goes into overdrive when you don’t sleep! 

With just a single night of poor sleep, your leptin production is interrupted, causing your body’s “I’m full” signal to misfire. At the same time, your stomach continues secreting ghrelin, which sends out an “eat everything in sight” message. 

What else is working against you when you don’t get enough sleep?

We can’t blame hormones for everything, though. Even without the biological substances working against you, sleep deprivation can keep you from reaching your fitness goals. 

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do when I’m tired is go workout. The fatigue caused by a poor night’s sleep is often used as an excuse for skipping fitness classes. And making a habit of skipping classes can lead to weight gain and a loss of muscle. 

The good news after a bad night’s sleep

After spending the whole night wishing for sleep that never came, the information above feels pretty bleak, doesn’t it? Put down that super-sized cup of coffee or Route 44 Coke in favor of one of these naturally energy-boosting alternatives:

Water 

Staying hydrated is essential for keeping your energy up. 

Whole foods 

Skip the processed boxed meals and pre-cooked meats. The ease of preparation is tempting in your sleepy state, but the chemicals, preservatives, and additives work against your goal of staying awake. Instead, reach for fresh, in-season fruits and veggies. 

Bananas

For a boost of natural energy, bananas offer potassium, fiber, and the vitamins you need to feel more energetic. 

Chia seeds  

These little seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight in liquid, leaving you feeling satiated. Plus, they are packed with omega-3s and magnesium to keep your heart healthy and fight stress and fatigue. 

Staying hydrated and eating well can only get you so far. Get your sleep back on track by setting a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding screens at night, and completing a mindfulness exercise before calling it a night. Squeezing exercise into your day can help you feel sleepy at bedtime. With Enhancewell Fitness’s extensive class schedule and private sessions, you can make workouts work for you! Sign up today

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