“Sleep … pah! Surely the more I’m awake the more energy I’m burning.”
“Water … who has time to drink? And, anyway, coffee blunts my appetite.”
What did I know? Turns out not very much.
So let’s talk a little bit more about why sleep and drinking enough water are part of the dream team as you stop bingeing and overeating.
It’s all about getting your brain on-side and your energy levels sparking.
There are two things guaranteed to ramp up stress and get you eating, and they are sleep deprivation and dehydration.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you get a lot of other things instead … more stress, more hunger, more cravings, more weight gain (because of dysregulation of hormones like cortisol, insulin, ghrelin and leptin). Along with more of those, expect less happiness and wellbeing, satiety, and ability to think clearly.
Lack of sleep actually stops you being able to activate the thinking, decision making part of your brain so easily—so, automatic habits are more likely to kick in without being challenged. Habits like overeating or bingeing.
And water … the very same centres in the brain that cry out for food also beg for water. Dehydration can send out hunger signals when what you really need is to drink. Add to that … if there’s a sure way to die quickly it’s through lack of water. Stress levels rise and the ability to think clearly plummets. Even low level thirst causes our brains stop functioning so well.
Just like with sleep, lack of water makes overeating way more likely.
One last thing: Have you ever noticed how dehydration makes you sleepy and lethargic, while drinking water through the day is much more likely to keep energy levels high and attention focused.
Turns out sleep and water are besties and act in unison to support you.
A lack of either will push your body into a stress response. That’s important to know if you’re a stress-eater. And stress has also been directly linked to weight gain, even without excess food.
Why not try an experiment?
A week of 7-9 hours of sleep per night and at least 2 litres of water (4 pints) throughout the day.
I’d love to hear any differences you notice!