As if you didn’t already face enough obstacles to weight loss, burning the midnight oil can also affect your ability to burn fat because it impacts your hormones. If any one of those factors (sleep quality, weight, and hormone balance) is not optimal, it causes the whole relationship to spiral out of control.
Our team of weight loss and hormone experts at Balanced Medical Solutions in Hayward, California, helps men and women understand the interdependent relationship between hormones, sleep, and weight management. Keep reading to learn how you can break negative cycles and restore a healthy hormone balance.
How imbalanced hormones disrupt sleep patterns
Your hormones regulate every system in your body, including digestion, metabolism, reproduction, cardiovascular, temperature, sexuality, growth, and yes, sleep patterns.
In particular, if you have too much of the hormone cortisol coursing through your body, it can cause a serious case of insomnia. Cortisol comes from your adrenal gland and increases when you’re stressed. So if you’re suffering from anxiety, are worried about a situation at work, or are dealing with too many responsibilities, it’s not just a mental health issue; it’s a physical problem.
If imbalanced hormones are interfering with your ability to sleep, it could lead to weight gain.
How inadequate sleep leads to weight gain
Many things can cause a bad night’s sleep, from a hot room to an uncomfortable bed or too much noise — these are all easy to fix. But when lack of sleep is the fault of imbalanced hormones, the solution is a little harder.
Before you blame your insomnia on your hormones, let’s first take a look at what constitutes a good night’s sleep:
- You fall asleep within a half an hour of going to bed
- You stay asleep at least 85% of your time in bed
- If you wake up in the middle of night, you don’t stay awake longer than 20 minutes
If you’re wondering what sleep has to do with hormones and weight gain, here it is — sleep deprivation influences the hormones that regulate your appetite: ghrelin and leptin.
When you get enough sleep, these hormones do their job and you feel less hungry, so you tend to eat less and weigh less. But adults who don’t get enough sleep are 55% more likely to struggle with obesity, and children are 89% more likely to have the same problem.
How weight gain influences hormones
When you’re overweight or obese, it can cause some of your body systems to malfunction. A good case in point is the normally helpful hormone, leptin. Under ideal circumstances, leptin suppresses your appetite so you don’t overeat. Leptin is produced from your stored fat, so it stands to reason that if you’re overweight, you have lots of leptin.
The problem is that, after a certain point, your body becomes desensitized to leptin's “I’m full” message, so you just keep eating and gaining weight.
Another hormone that messes with your weight is insulin. Produced in the pancreas, insulin controls your blood sugar. But when you’re obese, those signals get muddled, which leads to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Not only does your weight affect your hormones, but your hormones affect your weight, too. Women whose estrogen decreases as they near and go through menopause and men whose testosterone levels have waned, may find that they’ve lost control over their metabolism.
Low estrogen and low testosterone may also lead to decreased energy and therefore decreased activity, which is a bad combination that leads to weight gain.
Breaking the cycle
Now that you understand how hormones, sleep, and weight are interconnected, you're ready to do something about it.
Clearly, finding ways to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep is of the utmost importance. Try to incorporate these key factors into your lifestyle:
- Manage your environment
- Eat well (but not too much)
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeine
- Reduce stress
Doing what you can to lose weight will also boost your quality of sleep. Some simple weight loss tips include:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Choose lean proteins
- Monitor your portions
- Avoid sugar, processed foods, and saturated fats
- Get your heart rate up more often
- Build lean muscle with weight training
But if all these efforts fail you, don’t blame yourself — our providers can help check your hormones and get you back on track. At Balanced Medical Solutions, we understand that getting a good night’s rest and losing weight are not simply a matter of will power. Hormones can either be your friend or foe when pursuing health and wellness.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you’re deficient in one hormone or up to your ears in another, we can bring them back into balance with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. We place a tiny pellet under your skin in your hip so it releases the hormones gently and regularly. You don’t experience any roller coaster effects like surges and dry spells.
If you need help managing your hormones, sleep cycles, or weight gain, contact us by calling 510-679-3300 to break the cycle and get your body in balance.