You may not realize it but your sleep habits may be directly related to any weight gain. A late night at the office or that Downton Abbey marathon all add up to sleep deprivation. Too little sleep can put on the weight now and in your future.

Watch Your Mouth

They say everything in moderation, right? Not so with sleep. Too little and you end up short-circuiting your health – mentally, physically and emotionally. And it can add inches to your waistline. When we stay up late, or rise to early, we tend to load up on soda, coffee, and carbs. We crave the foods that comfort us or ones that we think will perk us up like candy, caffeinated drinks and fried foods. A habitual cycle of too little sleep ends up piling on the pounds.

When we’re tired we aren’t really up for taking the time to make a healthy meal. Instead we got for the easy option: dining out. That can also increase your calorie intake. To combat all these cravings and exhaustion – prepare ahead whenever possible. If you know you are going to be up late one night, fill your day with high fiber foods like nuts, fruit, cut up veggies or yogurt. Drink plenty of water to keep headaches away and get to bed on time the following night.

Log in the Hours

The ideal amount of required sleep varies per individual but it is fairly safe to shoot for between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Head to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time. Your body’s clock will soon feel rested all the time.

When you sleep less than six hours a night your body starts to produce more of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin tells us when we are hungry. The body also produces less leptin when we are lose sleep. Leptin is the hormone that lets the body know when it is full. See the big picture? The more we lose sleep the harder it is for our bodies to receive the ‘stop eating’ message. This makes it hard to lose weight but easy to gain it.

How much sleep do you get each night?

The phrase, “What you put in, is what you get out.” is a phrase we have heard many times. When our bodies don’t get the rest they need it is like having a lot of debt. You always end up paying more for it in the future.