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Stress and Poor Sleep Affects Your Weight

Sleepless nights. Being unable to turn your brain off. Hard time falling asleep. Falling asleep ‎but waking every two hours and watching the clock. Disordered sleep is almost universal for ‎people dealing with intense divorce stress. ‎

Poor sleep affects decision making and when divorcing, you need to make the best decisions ‎you can. Yes, stress affects sleep. But lack of quality sleep is also responsible for increasing ‎mental and physical stress. Dealing with your stress is critical but often easier said than done. ‎New issues seem to arise daily when undergoing divorce, especially when divorcing a narcissist ‎or high conflict personality partner.‎

Our bodies have interconnected feedback loops. Things that disrupt one part of our system ‎affect all the others. To give your self the best out come in divorce you must control what you ‎can control. You can create and control habits around sleep, meals, and exercise. ‎


‎4 Ways Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain


‎1. Increased Levels of Cortisol
When it comes to sleep deprivation and weight gain, cortisol may be a primary culprit. ‎Cortisol and sleep have shown to have an inverse relationship – when sleep is low, ‎cortisol levels may be high. Elevated cortisol levels can increase appetite and exploit ‎unhealthy food choices. ‎

2.‎ Imbalanced Hunger Hormones
Inadequate sleep can cause the hunger hormones to go haywire. Also known as leptin ‎and ghrelin, leptin helps to signal satiety while ghrelin signals a hunger response. When ‎tired, leptin levels may reduce while ghrelin levels may rise, ultimately reducing the ‎feeling of fullness and stimulating ravenous cravings.‎

‎3. Reduced Metabolism
Metabolism is the totality of all chemical reactions in the body that uses and burns ‎energy (or calories) as fuel – a slow metabolism may cause weight gain while a fast ‎metabolism may facilitate weight loss. Though there are many factors that dictate ‎metabolism’s speed, sleep is one of them. Sleep deprivation can slow down metabolism ‎and eventually cause weight gain if sleep is consistently inadequate.‎

4.‎ Lessened Energy
When the body is tired, numerous daily functions may be compromised. That daily ‎workout more than likely seems daunting with reduced energy levels. And preparing ‎and cooking a nutritious meal? Running through a quick, convenient drive thru or ‎ordering takeout probably may seem like best alternative at the time. The combination ‎of reduced workouts and healthful meals can ignite calorie accumulation and contribute ‎weight gain. ‎



With good practices, sleep and weight loss can occur. But if you find yourself unable to sleep, ‎these tips can avoid the phenomenon on sleep deprivation and weight gain:‎


Limit Caffeine Intake

That afternoon caffeine “pick-me-up” can ultimately impede on sleep cycles. Try limiting ‎caffeine intake to morning hours and reduce the intake of hidden caffeine sources including ‎chocolate. ‎


Avoid Large Portions Before Bedtime

Try to consume dinners at least four to five hours prior to bedtime. Doing so can facilitate ‎efficient food breakdown and reduce unpleasant indigestion symptoms when lying down. ‎


Reach for Water

Thirst is oftentimes mistaken for hunger. So instead of reaching for food when bored or wanting ‎to snack, pour yourself a glass of water. Additionally, a warm cup of decaffeinated tea can ‎initiate a soothing, relaxing sensation and cultivate a resting environment. Just be sure to not ‎drink too much late in the evening, as you want to avoid bathroom wakeup calls throughout the ‎night.‎


Be Mindful of Alcohol

Lots of people reach for wine or other alcoholic drink to unwind after a stressful day. The issue ‎is that for women, any more than one drink ends up adversely affecting your sleep. For men, ‎the same goes for any more than two drinks. The alcohol affects blood sugar levels, causing ‎them to dip which wakes you up from sleep and makes it hard to fall back to sleep especially ‎when your mind gets going. ‎


Resetting a Dysregulated Stress Response

Acute stress is something that is natural for our bodies. After an acute stress, the body calms ‎itself. The problem is that the process of divorce takes time, and the stress can be on-going. It ‎could be months or even years and if your body is not able to get into the recovery phase after ‎your fight or flight response, you just remain in fight or flight. ‎


You must create boundaries around your sleep self-care. I read recently that the average adult ‎checks her cell phone 46 times per day. With that much checking, there is always something ‎pressing to attend to. Set a time, maybe 8 or 9 pm where your phone is off limits. Do not ‎check emails. Rather read a book, take a bath, something relaxing. Those activities may not ‎be realistic as you may have hours of chores left to do in your day, and if that’s the case attend ‎to them. Preparing meals for tomorrow, cleaning the kitchen, helping kids with homework, the ‎care and walking of pets. These are all important and necessary but even more so, you can do ‎these tasks and complete them. They do not remain undone or partially undone. When you ‎finish tasks to completion it helps set you up mentally for rest and renewal. When you ‎constantly respond to emails and texts, especially when dealing with negative people, you set ‎up the opposite of rest and renewal. ‎

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