Sleep and fitness go hand in hand—connected by two hormones
Sleep well to stay fit and healthy. Stay fit and healthy to sleep well. Why is this relationship so interconnected?
Blame two hormones
There are two hormones affected by lack of sleep that also happen to play a big role in your weight. Grehlin, the hunger hormone, and Leptin, the satiety hormone.
Grehlin is the hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep deprived, you have more Grehlin.
Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you’re sleep deprived, you have less leptin.
Essentially, lack of sleep affects the healthy function of your metabolism. When you’re not well rested, you eat more and your metabolism slows.
Path to bad decisions
To make matters worse, when you’re exhausted or not well rested, you’re more prone to making “unhealthy” decisions. Your body craves food it can quickly turn into energy (sugar and carbs) leading to unhealthy snacks at the vending machines, sodas and fast food meals—which leads to weight gain.
And, when you’re too tired, you’re less likely to make the decision to go to the gym after work or to take a walk in the evening. However, exercise is what you need to get quality sleep in the first place. If you exercise, take a walk, or do some light yoga or stretching before bed, you are more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep so that you’re able to have a good night’s rest.
It’s a vicious circle. You eat poorly and don’t exercise; therefore, your body isn’t functioning properly and you can’t sleep. Since you’re unable to sleep well, you wake up and your body already is at a deficit. This results in more poor choices.
Turn the cycle around
Do two things to break the cycle and to get the rest your body needs:
Eat healthy meals with tons of veggies and protein. This is food your body is actually able to use as fuel.
And do some form of exercise or movement every day.
These two steps give your body the resources it needs, which will improve your sleep habits. Quality sleep, in turn, will balance your hunger and satiety hormones—decreasing Grehlin, the hunger hormone, and increasing Leptin, the satiety hormone.
When you keep your hormones in check, you’re more likely to make healthy choices, improving your physical fitness. Which will continue to improve your sleep.
Sleep well, my friends, and be healthy.