Norman Regional Health System

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

As you begin or continue your weight-loss journey — or if you are simply trying to maintain your current weight — don’t forget to make sure you are catching plenty of Zzzs each day.

For optimal health, adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Studies have shown that adults who get less than six hours of sleep each day on a continuous basis are at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, and/or developing several chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings; decreased memory and problem-solving skills; poor job or academic performance; and feelings of depression. Quality sleep is essential to good brain function. It can also keep your immune system healthy to ward off infections.

Research suggests that a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality while trying to lose weight can lead to overeating and can reduce the amount of weight lost. Wondering why? Here’s a look at what the research shows, according to the Sleep Foundation.

  • Sleep and appetite: Our bodies have neurotransmitters that are thought to play an important role in controlling our appetite. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with each other. When we do not get enough sleep, our bodies may not regulate these neurotransmitters properly, possibly leading to increased appetite. Other studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep or do not get quality sleep also tend to eat foods high in carbohydrates and calories, which can interfere with efforts to achieve a healthy weight.
  • Sleep and physical activity: Physical activity is an important part of weight management. When you are adequately rested, you will have more energy to engage in physical activities. It’s recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (about 20 to 30 minutes daily) or about 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week for optimal health. Physical activity can help you maintain your weight and also improve your ability to get a restful sleep, especially if you get natural light while you exercise.

 Sleep Tips

  • Set a consistent sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends and stick to that schedule. (Tip: Get to bed early. People with late bedtimes often consume more calories than people who go to sleep early.)
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine near bedtime.
  • Do not eat right before bed.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Remove or turn off electronic devices in your bedroom. This includes cell phones, televisions, computers and video games.
  • Try a relaxing activity before bed like reading or listening to music.
  • Keep your room at a comfortable temperature and ensure there are no distracting sounds or lights.
  • Choose comfortable mattresses and pillows.
  • Make sure all work is done well before bedtime.

Speak with your primary care provider if you show signs of a possible sleep disorder. This may include excessive sleepiness during the day; inattention; tardiness; mood swings and/or depression; increased irritability, hyperactivity and impatience; poor job or academic performance; and impulse control problems. Solving your sleep problems can have a positive impact on your weight-loss journey and overall health.

Find a Weight-loss Center

If you or a loved one are looking for help creating a weight-loss plan or are interested in weight-loss surgery, the providers at Journey Clinic — Norman Regional Health System’s comprehensive weight-loss program — may be able to assist. The clinic offers medical and surgical options for patients wanting to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you factor in sufficient sleep into your weight-loss plan so you are more successful on your journey.