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Sleep Helps Curb Cravings

May 24, 2008
Your key to solving the cravings problem may lie in taking a quick nap. Recent studies show that the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain may be greater than previously thought. There are several separate studies that point to a connection between important hormones and proper sleep. You can increase your fat burning capabilities and reduce your cravings by getting enough sleep.

Two specific hormones are linked to both eating habits and sleep. Ghrelin is in charge of telling your body that it is hungry, and Leptin tells your body when to stop eating. When these hormones are in balance, you'll feel hungry when you should and stop before you are entirely full.

However, if these hormones are unbalanced, you can imagine the kind of chaos it can cause in your system. You'll feel hungry even if your body has no need for food, and you'll overeat as well. To make matters worse, people who are tired will normally reach for "stimulating" foods full of calories, sugar and fat. This is literally a recipe for disaster.

Lack of sleep reduces the levels of leptin in your body, which makes you crave carbohydrates. On top of that, going without sleep interrupts your body's ability to use carbohydrates properly. This raises the levels of glucose in your body, which produces higher insulin levels and increased body-fat storage.

The bad news doesn't end there. Sleep deprivation reduces the growth hormone as well. Growth hormone is a protein that helps your body balance fat and muscle. Without it, your body may be storing more fat than necessary. When you have higher fat levels, you'll crave more high fat and high calorie foods to maintain that fat level.

Sleep also has an impact on your cortisol levels, which can affect your weight. Cortisol is the stress hormone and can cause you to feel hungry even when you aren't. When you go without sleep, you are putting your body into a state of unnatural stress. This increases cortisol levels and increases hunger at the same time.

If you've been trying to lose weight, or even just eat better, you may have been puzzled why cravings keep coming back. When you take a look at all of the problems associated with not getting enough sleep, the solution becomes clear: sleep more.

Studies also show that just a slight reduction in your amount of sleep can have a drastic impact on your body. With just a few hours shaved off a normal night of sleep each night for a week, there's a loss in the ability to process glucose. Insulin levels also get raised to the point where you may enter a pre-diabetic state.

Sleeping enough each night is vital to reducing your cravings. If you normally sleep less than you should, then you should gradually increase the amount of sleep that you get each day. It can be hard to go from sleeping 5 hours a night to a full 8. Try adding an hour to your sleep schedule each week. You'll reduce your cravings for food and help your body work properly.
About the Author
Are cravings for sugar, salt, junk food, sodas, and coffee running your life? For over 20 years, Diana Walker, the Cravings Coach, has assisted people like you in using natural, safe options for creating vibrant health. Check out Diana's newsletter, blog and podcast at http://www.thecravingscoach.com/blog and http://www.diana2.com
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