Sleep - Weight & Mental health




Insufficient sleep has a detrimental impact on physical and mental health. The effects are widespread but commonly we see increased blood pressure, increased inflammatory markers such as CRP. Poor mental health and the ability to manage stress occurs. A major area we also see affected is weight....




Poor sleep causes

• leptin levels to decrease – this leaves us less satisfied and constantly looking for that something to fill us up.

• Ghrelin levels increase, leaving us even hungrier….

On average men will eat 329 more calories & women 263 more calories if sleep deprived.

• The risk of diabetes is increased as insulin sensitivity decreases.

• Motivation to exercise is also reduced.


Take home message

If we are tired, we will eat more high carbohydrate, sugary foods that are quick and easy to grab foods because we are receiving hormonal messages to eat foods that will give us a quick pick me up. Now imagine you are not sleeping well, have gained some weight, not exercising & feeling unmotivated. Can you picture a person having good mental health??? NO, me neither.



60-70 % of people with anxiety will experience sleep problems


• 40-95% of people with depression will experience sleep problems


• With impaired sleep, there is more cognitive decline.


• Pain impairs sleep, sleep impairs pain recovery, inflammation increases, depression increases……


Can you see how this then escalates? Sleep, mood, obesity, then this causes imbalanced in hormones to occur…..let's not even talk about the impact menopause has on this picture....


What can you do???

• Make sleep a priority in your life. Aim for 8 hours

• Avoid processed foods during the day. Eat lots of good quality proteins & fats during the day to balance your blood glucose.

• Avoid all cereals, breads and reduced fat products

• Enjoy eggs or other protein for breakfast and watch how your energy changes and you are not falling asleep at your desk mid-morning and afternoon.

• Eat low starchy vegetables / salads throughout the day

• Eat very small amounts of complex carbohydrate such as sweet potato or brown rice

• 1-2 pieces of fruit

• Nuts & seeds

• Water – Water - Water (no soft drinks or juices)

• Green Tea



• Walk

• Meditate

• Yoga




The list goes on and is individual. In clinic I may add herbal support to reset the circadian rhythm or stress support. I may add nutrients such as B vitamins or magnesium, or amino acids such as GABA. Theanine or 5HTP may be indicated.

But supplements and herbs are only beneficial when you make the lifestyle changes required part of your daily routine.


Lesley Rix – Naturopath Nutritionist


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