Monday, 10 September 2018

Are long hours and lack of sleep driving you to overeat?

Yesterday I spent almost the whole day thinking about food, searching the cupboards for foods to feed my craving for something sweet, making myself snacks, making coffee. No matter what I ate still felt tired. Nothing really gave me the energy boost I needed. 

It was a long day and eventually it dawned on me that I often used to feel like that all the time but I had forgotten what it felt like. When I was teaching, I often used to think I need a cup of coffee to get my brain in gear, I’ll just have a biscuit to give me an energy boost, I’ll feel better once I have that flapjack. I never considered it to be out of the ordinary as it was probably my average day.

So how come I felt like this today? The night before I had fallen back into an old behaviour and worked late into the night to complete an important project. For years I would often work until the early hours of the morning to get a task finished so it was an old habit that I found easy to slip back into. I thought it would be okay as I didn’t have to be anywhere for important meetings.

The hunger moderating hormones

But I was wrong. I experienced full blast the effects of sleep deprivation, that feeling where you are so tired you crave fats, carbs and sugar to invigorate you so you can get going and get rid of the brain fog. These feelings are caused by ghrelin and leptin - the hunger moderating hormones. 

Ghrelin signals hunger and leptin suppresses hunger and signals that we are full. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body doesn’t produce these hormones in the right proportion and this leaves us feeling hungry and unable to control our cravings.  It is estimated some people eat an extra 300-600 calories a day when they don’t get enough sleep.  

In addition, when we don’t sleep our cortisol levels increase which disrupts our blood glucose levels causing cells to become insulin resistant, which is a precursor for type 2 diabetes as well as weight gain. 

Just 30 fewer minutes sleep a night can increase our risk of getting diabetes or becoming obese. 

So yesterday I ate more than usual. drank two cups of coffee despite not drinking coffee other than weekends any more. And I still felt like rubbish and tired by bedtime. 

So what have I learned? Not to slip back into old habits of being task centred. To know when to say time for bed and to honour to those great routines I have created to manage my wellbeing, my productivity and my weight. 

Is lack of sleep causing your weight gain? Take the leap and create a new routine that allows your body to work with you to manage your weight. Need help to manage your barriers to weight loss? Join my Facebook Group Shift your Mindset Shift your Weight at or book a free discovery call with me at and let’s explore if we’re a match and how I can help. 


  1. Diabetes is a common disease nowadays. The main reason for diabetes is due to the pancreas. Our Diabetes treatment will help to control blood glucose and urine levels, avoid cloudy vision, increase energy level and decrease tiredness. Remediable Diabetes Treatment .

    1. I work with a Nutritionist with clients with diabetes as diabetes can be controlled through understanding what is in the foods we eat (what is going into the body) alongside developing healthy routines and addressing their relationship with food to change behaviours that have contributed to the situation. If a client is already on medication, we encourage full dialogue with their GP. We would advise they discuss the use of supplements or treatments with their GP.


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