Dr Libby: The role of sleep in body fat management

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If despite eating highly nutritious food and moving regularly, you have noticed your clothes getting tighter and tighter, it might be time to take a closer look at your sleep patterns. Research has shown that poor sleep quality or simply not enough time sleeping – both of which are all too common these days – are associated with decreased insulin sensitivity and impaired glucose tolerance. Essentially, this means that your body’s ability to regulate your blood glucose levels is impaired, and if this is chronic, it can have wide-ranging health consequences such as an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It is also inextricably linked to body shape and size.

Poor quality or insufficient sleep also interferes with the body’s innate appetite control; it increases our hunger hormone (ghrelin) and decreases our satiety hormone (leptin) levels, making us much more likely to overeat after a night of tossing and turning. Quality sleep is so essential to how we feel and function on a daily basis – it impacts what and how much we eat, whether we bound out of bed and move our body (or not), our hormonal balance and how we speak to the people that we love the most, to name a few. And it might just be the missing piece in your weight loss puzzle.