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“One of the top reasons people gain weight ‘randomly’ is when they do not get enough sleep,” says Serena Poon a leading chef, nutritionist and reiki master to the Hollywood elite. Poon, founder of the Culinary Alchemy method, which combines integrative and functional nutrition along with healing energy, goes on to point out that lack of sleep has been clinically linked to weight gain.
“It seems harmless enough to occasionally shave off a few hours of sleep a few extra nights of the week, especially if you have a demanding schedule, an important project deadline or a travel itinerary that is throwing your sleep off. But insufficient sleep can affect our hunger-regulating hormones such as ghrelin, which tells us when it’s time to eat, and leptin, which tells us when we are full. Not getting enough sleep can also spike our cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can cause inflammation.”
The solution: Poon suggests tracking your sleep patterns and to “experiment with giving yourself a full night’s sleep (seven to eight hours) for a week and see if it makes a difference.”
“Another very common reason I see people gain weight without a seemingly obvious reason is due to hormones,” says Poon. “Your gut and your hormones rule your life, so you want to be mindful and take care of these two departments in your body.” Imbalanced hormones can be the result of a lack of sleep, stress, an undiagnosed condition such as PCOS or thyroid issues, or a side effect from a new medication like birth control.3
The solution: Poon recommends asking your health practitioner to run a simple blood test that measures hormone levels. “The solution may be as easy as adjusting your diet and adding in supplements to support your adrenal system.”