How Poor Sleep Affects Your Appetite - And What to Do About It

Poor sleep at night can put a damper on your whole day, but there may be more to it than low energy and daytime sleepiness. Having low sleep can boost appetite, and that in turn can cause weight gain and health issues. Here is how poor sleep affects appetite and why, and also what you can do to stay healthy.

Three Reasons Why Poor Sleep Increases Appetite

When you are low on sleep, you are likely to feel hungrier and to have more cravings than you normally do. Here are three reasons why this can happen.

  • Blood Sugar Dysregulation
  • A single night of poor sleep messes with insulin’s activity and your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. You are more likely to have blood sugar fluctuations. During the downward parts of the cycle, when blood sugar is low, you may feel hungry and especially crave sugary or other high-carb foods.

  • Imbalanced Hunger Hormones
  • Your body produces a set of hormones that affect hunger and appetite. When you are sleep deprived, these hormones can get out of whack. In particular, changes in levels of ghrelin and leptin may lead to increased hunger and decreased satiety.

  • Increased Cortisol Production
  • Cortisol is one of the hormones that the body produces as part of the stress response. Cortisol levels can increase in response to chronically unmanaged stress, such as when you are worried about work or anxious about family or health. Cortisol can also increase after a single night of inadequate sleep. It raises blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage.

    Trouble with Increased Appetite Due to Poor Sleep

    Increased appetite and hunger due to poor sleep can lead to trouble. When you’re hungrier, you’re likely to eat more. The trouble is that your body feels hungrier but doesn’t truly need more food. The result can be unwanted weight gain, especially if your “extra” food is coming from high-calorie sources, such as sugary or starchy foods.

    In addition, you’re likely to make less healthy choices on low sleep. You are likely to crave sugar-sweetened foods, foods with refined carbs, and high-sodium, or salty, snack foods. Too much of these types of foods raises risk for conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

    How to Eat Better on Low Sleep

    Knowing the facts can help you prepare if you’re low on sleep. You can keep an eye out to make sure you make smart choices in areas such as the following.

  • Carbs - Choose high-fiber, less-processed carbs, such as vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and pasta, and brown rice. Limit sweets, such as baked goods, candies, jellies, and pudding, and refined carbs, such as crackers, white bread, pretzels, potato chips, and white rice and pasta.
  • Hunger Cues - Eat when you are moderately hungry but not yet starving, and start with low-calorie foods such as vegetables, broth-based chunky soups, and salads.
  • Hydration - Drink plenty of low-calorie fluids, such dehydration can make you feel hungry. Water and unsweetened coffee and tea are good choices, while sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, and sports drinks can pack on pounds and increase cravings. 
  • Protein - Protein can help reduce hunger for longer. Lean sources include fish, egg whites, skinless chicken, lean ground turkey, and beans.

  • Tips for Better Sleep

    You’re not alone if you don’t always get enough sleep, and many people often don’t get enough sleep. Luckily, there are a lot of strategies you can try to get better sleep on a consistent basis. Ultimately, the best solution for overcoming increased appetite on low sleep is to get better sleep.

    Here are some general tips for getting better sleep.

    • Having a consistent bedtime that is early enough to allow for 7 to 9 hours of sleep before your alarm clock goes off.
    • Following a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine that may include calming activities such as reading, brushing teeth, taking a bath, meditating, or stretching.
    • Wearing comfy bed clothes and having a comfortable bed and pillows.
    • Sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet room.
    • Avoiding caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime.
    • Turning off electronic devices within 30 to 60 minutes of bedtime. That includes phones, laptops, and tablets.
    • Be active during the day.
    • Eat a smaller dinner and keep it from being too close to bedtime.

    Sleep disorders are not uncommon. If you believe you may have one, it is best to tell your doctor about your concerns.

    Supplements for Natural Sleep*

    Netrition has a wide variety of supplements that contain natural ingredients that have been used as sleep aids or for relaxation.* The range of ingredients includes melatonin, which is a natural sleep hormone.* Your body produces melatonin to help regulate sleep and wake cycles.

    Netrition’s range of sleep aids come in forms such as gummies, topical patches, capsules, and chewable tablets. Aside from melatonin, ingredients may include herbals such as lemon balm, Valerian root, chamomile, and passionflower. L-theanine and L-tryptophan are in some of the supplements. Together, these supplements could have these effects.*

    • Support normal sleep cycles.
    • Promote relaxation of muscles or mind.
    • Allow for keeping anxiety to normal levels.
    • Support a normal mood.

    With more sleep and better quality sleep, you are more likely to wake up refreshed and ready to go, and to have normal energy throughout the day. It’s important to check with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary or nutritional supplements. 

    Being short on sleep can make the next day challenging, and it can even mess with your appetite. It’s good to be aware of effects such as carb cravings and increased hunger, and the best strategy is to get better sleep if possible. Along with following tips for good sleep hygiene, you might look to Netrition for dietary supplements that are designed to promote normal sleep and wake cycles.* Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.

    *The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. Netrition products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone with a medical condition should seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner. Individual results may vary.

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