Sleep On It

March 1, 2018
| Created by Melanie Taylor, MS, RDN, CD

Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is recommended, but most of us aren’t getting that much regularly. Research shows that people who sleep less than four hours each night are 73 percent more likely to be overweight than those getting seven to nine hours. Sleeping fewer than the recommended hours can affect weight gain by:


Increasing ghrelin levels, the hormone that increases appetite
Decreasing leptin levels, the hormone that tells your body that it is full
Increasing blood levels of endocannabinoids, which makes it more enjoyable to eat (especially in the evening)
Increasing the hours you are awake and able to eat
Possibly increasing the stress hormone cortisol, which affects insulin resistance
Possibly decreasing your willingness to exercise if you feel tired


To celebrate Sleep Awareness Week, which is March 11-17, make an effort to improve your health and wellness by getting the best sleep possible.  Start with these four tips or visit for more ideas. Sweet Dreams!


Keep a consistent sleep schedule, including bedtime and wake-up time. By doing this your body’s internal clock will make falling and staying asleep easier. 
Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing including reading, listening to music, journaling, or meditating.
Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine close to bedtime. These can lead to poor sleep, keep you awake or disrupt sleep later in the night.
Make your bedroom dark, quiet, comfortable and cool for the best possible sleep.