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Your Sleep Could be to Blame for a Slower Metabolism

You know that sleep is necessary to restore energy to your body, but did you know it's also important for your metabolism? If you've ever found yourself hungrier the day after a poor night's sleep, you aren't alone. I've been there too! Sleep—or lack of it—is directly tied to your metabolism. Your quality of sleep can also affect your metabolism.

It seems simple. Your metabolism converts food into fuel. It also plays a role in how efficiently you burn that fuel. Lack of sleep affects your metabolism and ability to lose weight because of the way your appetite hormones interact. Leptim and ghrelin are what control our appetite and sense of fullness. Leptin makes us feel full. Ghrelin stimulates appetite. When you sleep poorly, you're more likely to overeat because ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels go down.

Everyone suffers from a bad night sleep from time to time—in fact most patients I see and nearly 30 percent of Americans don't get enough sleep. But don't fret. Your metabolism and other hormonal processes can recover from a few nights of poor sleep. But those with long-lasting sleep problems are at risk for a number of health issues including a disturbed metabolism, weight gain, low immunity, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

What can you do to break the streak and pave the way for a good night's sleep?

  1. Create a relaxing sleep zone—draw the shades, dim the lights and do something relaxing before your head hits the pillow. And don't forget to power down all electronic devices at least an hour before bed.
  2. Watch what you eat and drink. Stay away from large, high-fat meals within two hours of bedtime. Avoid all caffeine after noon if possible and avoid alcohol at least two hours before bed. Both can interrupt your sleep.
  3. Hit the gym. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve your quality of sleep.
  4. If you have chronic sleep issues, talk to your primary care doctor about seeing a sleep medicine specialist.

Don't wait another night. Take the first step to getting your metabolism back on track with this simple prescription: a good night's sleep.