Lack of sleep is a recipe for overeating

An overhead view of an open box of takeout pepperoni pizza.

If you find yourself struggling in your efforts to lose weight despite a healthy diet, portion control and regular exercise, you might want to examine your sleeping habits.

Research shows a link between sleep and weight loss because sleep affects the hormones that influence our eating behaviors.

Ghrelin and leptin

Let’s take a look at two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is an appetite-decreasing hormone. It sends signals to the brain that your body has enough stored energy (in the form of fat) to maintain normal function.

It’s responsible for giving you that “full” feeling when eating and sends that signal to your brain.

Ghrelin is an appetite-increasing hormone. It signals the brain when you’re hungry. When you have high levels of ghrelin, research suggests that your desire for high-calorie foods increases.

It may also influence your eating behavior by increasing stimulation of the brain’s reward system—meaning eating will make you happy.

A woman lies in bed while looking at her phone.

Hormones and weight loss

When they are working together normally, these two hormones let your body know when you’re hungry or when you’re full. But when your body is short on sleep, their levels start to change.

The leptin levels drop, which makes you feel less satisfied after eating. And the ghrelin levels spike, stimulating your appetite and increasing your drive for high-calorie foods. That is the perfect recipe for overeating.

Research also showed that when people did lose weight during sleep deprivation, less of it was from fat than when they were getting adequate sleep. If your goal is to lose weight, you want to lose the fat, not muscle mass.

How much sleep is enough?

So, how much sleep is enough? Some people need more than others, but on the whole 8.5 hours of sleep each night is ideal to promote optimal levels of leptin and ghrelin.

If you’re regularly getting only 5.5 hours of sleep or less, your ghrelin levels will be on the rise, not to mention several other adverse effects, including irritability, forgetfulness and clumsiness.

A bottle of Nutrilite Sleep Health lies on a blanket near a pillow.

How to improve your sleep quality

If this sounds like you, it’s time to rethink your sleeping habits. Read 7 tips for getting a better night’s sleep for advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep, including establishing a routine, creating a “sleep sanctuary” and reducing fluid intake before bed.

You can also consider a supplement or other products to help you relax to fall alseep†, like n* by Nutrilite™ Sweet Dreams – Sleep Gummies with melatonin and passionflower, n* by Nutrilite™ Take a Sec – Stress + Sleep Tea with a hibiscus-lavender-chamomile blend, n* by Nutrilite™ Sweet Dreams – Sleep Topical Essential Oil Blend with lavender, ylang ylang and orange oils, or Nutrilite™ Sleep Health with valerian, hops and lemon balm.

To learn more, visit

†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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