More Zzzzs can mean fewer lbs. We’ve covered several studies that prove the importance of getting a good night’s sleep to keep pounds off, but, to get the most out of your sleep time, having a protein snack before bedtime may help you achieve a leaner physique.
According to Caroline Apovian, M.D., a leading weight loss doctor from Boston University, when you sleep the body undergoes processes to repair and develop new tissues (building lean muscle tissue), regulates hormones and readies the body for the next day.
Insufficient sleep (generally less than 7 hours a night) is linked to weight gain, obesity, increased belly fat, hypertension, diabetes and much more. Hormonal disruptions are thought to be one of the main reasons why burning the candle at both ends is so bad for your waistline. Without enough shut-eye, the levels of the hunger-hormone ghrelin rise and the levels of leptin, the hormone that helps us feel full, falls.
This is why exhausted people complain of feeling really hungry and they often crave and because the areas of the brain that control willpower is high-jacked, making it hard to not give in to your cravings.
If you have trouble sleeping, Dr. Apovian recommends adding protein to your diet, especially before bedtime. Protein consumption stimulates the release of gut hormones associated with deep sleep. Also, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that those adhering to a high protein weight loss diet reported improved quality of sleep after following the diet for a few months, as opposed to those following a weight loss diet with average protein consumption.
I try to drink a low-calorie casein (slow-releasing dairy protein) shake before bed. My shake provides around 15 grams protein and has less than 100 calories. I find that I wake up less hungry and while I’ve always been a great sleeper, I feel like I get a better night’s sleep when I remember to drink the protein shake before I go to bed.