How to Stop Snacking: The Link Between Cravings and Sleep

by JJ Virgin on February 17, 2016

Ever noticed how staying up late almost always involves a bag of chips or something sweet? (After all, there’s a reason we all know the phrase “midnight snack”!)

Or that you seem to be more prone to bad diet choices after you pull an all-nighter?

It isn’t just your imagination! And a sleep-deprived lack of willpower isn’t the problem either.

Going without quality sleep puts your body at a chemical disadvantage that no amount of resolve can overcome. Even worse, the consequences will show up around your waistline: people who only sleep 5 hours per night are 50% more likely to be obese than folks who get a solid 8 hours!1

As a busy entrepreneur, the one thing I prioritize is great sleep. I don’t perform at my best when I don’t sleep well, so getting 7–9 hours of quality sleep is non-negotiable. My Sleep Cheat Sheet gives you my top tips for solid, consistent sleep every night. Get the FREE guide here

The Link Between Sleep & Hunger

Craving tacos and churros after a late night out? It’s because of your hormones, which fall out of balance after crappy sleep and stop you from being the best fat burner.

It starts with leptin. When you don’t sleep, one of the first levels to fall out of line is leptin, a hunger hormone that tells your body when to stop eating. Leptin usually peaks while you’re asleep,2 so skipping bedtime deprives your body of the natural signals that say, “I’m full. Put down the fork.”

Then there’s ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Keeping ghrelin levels in check is essential to fat loss. However, just one night of bad sleep can make your ghrelin skyrocket!3 The result? The fewer z’s you catch, the hungrier you’ll feel.

The third piece of the hunger hormone puzzle is insulin. Just like leptin and ghrelin, healthy insulin levels play an important role in your weight and appetite. Too much insulin makes you store fat, putting you at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic disease. So guess what happens when you don’t get enough sleep? Your insulin levels spike, meaning you burn sugar instead of fat.4

It’s a chain reaction… Elevated insulin causes more cravings and weight gain – both of which can keep you up at night, starting the whole vicious cycle all over again!

Soon, stress hormones like cortisol get involved too, making it difficult to manage emotional eating. Just one night’s sleep loss is enough to raise cortisol levels the next day, and elevated cortisol can make you feel hungrier and more stressed than ever.5

Bottom line: to crush cravings and burn fat, you need 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.

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Here’s What To Do

If you want to give up late-night fridge raids and morning-after regret, it’s time to start making great sleep a priority. These strategies can help:

  1. No caffeine after lunch. No sleep aid in the world can combat an after-dinner espresso! Switch to decaf in the PM hours or opt for a cup of chamomile tea instead.
  2. Turn off the screens. Studies have shown that the light from digital devices keeps you from falling asleep long after you close your laptop or turn off the TV. Swap bedtime emails and late-night reruns for a good (not great) book.
  3. The kitchen is closed. Eat by the plate for dinner, and then call it a night! Eating during the 3 – 4 hours before bedtime causes blood sugar changes that can keep you up. If you’re feeling hungry before bed, try drinking an 8 oz. glass of water with a squeeze of lemon – research proves it can often completely curb your appetite.
  4. Exercise early (but don’t skip it). Among its many benefits, working out can make you a better sleeper. Just be sure to leave plenty of time to power down before you turn in. Learn how to get an intense, full-body workout in just 8 minutes here.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Despite your best efforts, sometimes tomorrow’s to-do list keeps you up the night before. Don’t risk a day full of cravings that can derail your diet! It may be time for some all-natural help. Sleep Candy™  is a science-based, effective way to slumber soundly,* without any worries about side effects or habit-forming ingredients.

Your most energized, constructive days are built on the foundation of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is also essential to conquering cravings and keeping emotional eating firmly in check. So turn off your phone, take a hot bath, and make sure Sleep Candy™ is on your nightstand, just in case. Sweet dreams!

Just 1 sleep-deprived night can knock your stress hormones out of whack, making you more likely to gain weight and experience uncomfortable symptoms like mood swings and skin breakouts. Get the great sleep you deserve with my Best Rest Sleep Cheat Sheet. I’ve shared my best tips for stellar sleep. It’s FREE, so claim yours here

The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.