Kindrick, who works with patients in the weight management service at Ohio State University Medical Center, says when the body is sleep deprived, there are hormonal changes that take place that lead to a craving of carbohydrates.
“If you are sleep deprived, you’re probably not going to feel like exercising so you have two forces working against you – you are craving more carbohydrates, most likely those contained in candy, sweets and sodas – and you don’t feel like exercising,” says Kindrick who has a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry. “It’s going to be much harder to lose weight.”
She says the time change in November, coupled by December’s late-night get-togethers and other holiday events, team up to make it very difficult to establish a good sleep schedule.
“Unfortunately we live in a sleep deprived country,” said Kindrick. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s your off days or your work days, you need to go to bed about the same time and get up at about the same time,” she adds.
At least seven to eight hours of sleep per night is needed and studies have shown that people who slept five hours per night were 73% more likely to become obese than those getting seven to nine nightly hours of sleep.
Kindrick says when the body does not get the restorative sleep it needs, it sets off a chain of unfortunate events.
“First, without sleep, your body isn’t getting the rest it requires and your muscles don’t rejuvenate, and instead of burning fat, your body sacrifices muscle,” says Kindrick. “After a few days of not getting enough sleep, chemical changes cause the release of the hormone ghrelin, which promotes hunger and causes fat retention.”
Kindrick says a contributor to poor sleep is caffeine. “Consuming caffeine to help you get through the day or to give you energy for a workout actually can make things worse by disrupting your sleep, even hours later.” She says adhering to an organized sleep schedule is safe and healthy and the best way to ensure that a diet is successful.