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Poor Sleep: an Unexpected Source of Weight Gain

If you've been trying to lose weight lately, and you just can't seem to figure it out, it may have nothing to do with counting calories or sweating it all out at the gym. It may have to do with the quantity and the quality of sleep you're getting. Below, we'll go into great detail about what exactly poor sleep can do for your waistline and how changing your rest quality can help improve your metabolic health.

Get Poor Sleep, Get a Bigger Waist

Most weight-loss gurus will tell you that weight management is all about "calories in, calories out". But it's not always quite so simple. Yes, maintaining a calorie deficit helps you lose weight, while consuming a calorie surplus will make you gain weight. But when poor sleep alters your hormone levels, it becomes almost impossible to make healthy diet and exercise choices. The hormones ghrelin, leptin, and cortisol are the ones responsible for keeping you trim and healthy, or triggering weight gain. But it all depends on whether or not they are balanced properly.

Ghrelin and Leptin

Ghrelin and leptin are two of the most important hormones when it comes to keeping your waistline slim and trim. Ghrelin helps you feel hungry when you need to eat, and leptin swoops in at the end of your meal to make you feel full and prevent you from overindulging. Unfortunately, poor sleep means that your body doesn't produce a healthy balance of these hormones. You end up producing more ghrelin, which makes you eat more. You also end up producing less leptin, which means you won't stop eating even after you are full. This, as any fitness expert will tell you, means that you will pack on the pounds.


Cortisol has many important uses in the body, but it also has a dark side to it. When you make too much of it, or when your body makes it at the wrong time of day, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep. It can also interfere with your body's ability to eat healthy. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because it gets produced when, as you may have guessed, you feel stressed. When you're stressed out, you're more likely to eat fattening, sugary comfort food than anything else. If your cortisol levels and ghrelin levels are elevated at the same time, the situation quickly turns into a double whammy. Under the influence of both of these hormones, it can be nearly impossible to eat healthy. And when you don't eat healthy, you are much more likely to gain weight.

Weight Gain Makes Sleep Quality Worse

When poor quality sleep starts to make you gain weight, it triggers a domino effect which quickly turns into a self-perpetuating cycle. For starters, the poor quality sleep alters your hormones, making you crave unhealthy food choices and gain weight by consuming too many calories. The weight you gain can make it difficult to get quality sleep if you end up developing some sort of sleep apnea. That poor sleep further throws your hormone levels out of whack, increasing the amount of food you eat and the likelihood that you will consume sugary, fatty foods instead of whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables.

For some, escaping this cycle feels like an impossible task. But it doesn't have to be. You can make some very simple lifestyle changes that will slowly but surely improve your quality of sleep. And you can get started on those changes tonight.

How to Improve Sleep Quality for Weight Loss

The first step towards losing weight and improving your sleep quality is to take a personal inventory of your sleep hygiene. No, that doesn't mean brushing your teeth differently or changing soap (although a comforting lavender-scented body wash could help a little). It means figuring out what you might be doing wrong that's preventing you from falling asleep and staying asleep. Here's some basic rules of thumb when trying to improve your sleeping habits:

  • Do what you can to reduce your exposure to electronic light a few hours before bed. Too much blue light prevents your brain from producing the sleep hormone melatonin. Without enough melatonin in your system, you're more likely to toss and turn at night.
  • Give your bedroom a makeover. Get rid of electronics, animals, or anything else that could wake you up at night. Your bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex, only. It also helps to put up blackout curtains on your windows to keep out ambient light, which can mess with melatonin production.
  • Exercise more. Part of the reason you may not be feeling sleepy at night is because you didn't do anything during the day to physically tire yourself out. Even if it's a brief walk after dinner (try a 20 minute stroll around your neighborhood, for example), increasing your activity levels during the day will help you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
  • Improve your diet. Too much caffeine in the afternoon, spicy food right before bed, and late night meals all make it harder to get a healthy night's sleep. Try shifting your meals around to earlier in the day, and don't touch a drop of coffee after 11:59 AM.
  • Stay away from chemically manufactured sleeping pills. Whether prescription or OTC, pharmaceutical sleep supplements only make you feel sleepy; they don't actually improve your quality of rest. Plus, overtime, dependency and extended use can hinder your ability to get good sleep without them once you stop taking those meds.

Since we're on the subject of sleep supplements, there are some safe and healthy alternatives out there that can help you get the rest you need without all of the unpleasant side effects. One of the best supplements available is Avinol PM. It contains some of the freshest, highest quality herbal ingredients that you can get in a natural sleep aid. It's manufactured in a GM-certified facility to make sure that you get the best product your money can buy. There are thousands of happy, satisfied customers who take Avinol PM on a regular basis. Not only are they enhancing the quality of their sleep, but they're improving their health, too.

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