The problem: You play catch-up with sleep
Sleeping late on weekends may sound like a good idea, but it can disrupt your circadian rhythm, explains Phyllis Zee, MD, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Your circadian rhythm plays a role in regulating the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. An imbalance in these hormones may crank up your appetite or cravings for fatty food, studies have shown. What’s more, constantly feeling the need to sleep in on the weekend is a clear sign that your body is sleep-deprived, adds Theresa Piotrowski, MD, medical director of the Adult and Pediatric Weight Loss Center in Ayer, Massachusetts. Sleep deprivation can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, which is linked to increased visceral fat, she says.
How to fix it: Do your best not to let your bedtime and wake-up time stray more than two hours from your normal sleep setup. And don’t hit the bagels and scones at breakfast, even though your sleep-deprived body is likely to be craving carbohydrates as an energy source. Instead, wake up and get your blood sugar under control with a balanced breakfast, suggests Dr. Piotrowski. Try a vegetable omelet or a bowl of oatmeal and berries, as opposed to sleeping more and giving in to pancake cravings, which only perpetuates the vicious cycle. The caveat: If you’re feeling burned out for weeks on end, speak to your doctor about your fatigue to see whether you should consult a sleep specialist, adds Dr. Piotrowski.
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