07:05 PM

FNCE comment - how to break the cycle of poor sleep and weight gain

“Research of 3,156 people by the Slimming World weight loss program has shown that there is a vicious cycle of poor quality sleep and weight gain, as the less sleep you get the more unhealthy your food choices tend to be, while the more your weight goes up the worse your quality of sleep," says Dr Jacquie Lavin.

"It’s no surprise that this often happens to students, as the combination of being busy with studies, a hectic social life and increased stress can impact on quality of sleep.

“Lack of sleep can affect key hormones that help regulate appetite and the way the body metabolises fat. It can also stimulate reward centres in the brain; increasing your desire for food and the pleasure you get from it, and making it doubly hard to resist temptation. If you’re tired you’re also likely to be less active too.

“The good news is that it’s possible to break the cycle of poor sleep and weight gain. More than a third of people who use the Slimming World weight loss program say that as well as sleeping better, they are also better prepared to prevent a poor sleep from leading to them reaching for fast food or snacks that are high in fat or sugar and less likely to cancel activity plans too.

“Being prepared for those days when you do have a poor sleep can help, so try batch-cooking comforting meals like lasagne or a homemade burger, or being ready with low energy snacks like fat free yogurt and fresh fruit. Staying cool, banning screens from the bedroom and cutting down on alcohol can help you get a good night’s sleep too."

Dr Jacquie Lavin is Head of Nutrition and Research at Slimming World, the UK’s favorite way to lose weight, which has just launched an innovative online program in the USA at slimmingworld.com. She was speaking at the FNCE conference in Chicago in response to an interesting research poster on decreased sleep duration and weight gain for college students. 

​For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Lavin email leigh.greenwood@slimmingworld.co.uk.