5 tips to support your willpower with quality nights

You sometimes think you will get more things done by going to sleep late or ignoring the call for a nap. You may reconsider this thought to keep up with your healthy routine.

When you lack sleep, you feel nervous, irritated, and… confused. This all come from your brain which struggles to achieve what needs to be done. To make it up, you start to look for stimulants like sugar, to quickly fuel your brain. With lack of (quality) sleep, you side-track more easily from your healthy eating habits.


a bed with lilac crumpled linens with view out a Parisian window

1- Lack of sleep weakens your willpower

Lack of sleep makes you grumpy, anxious and weak when facing temptations and bad habits. Bad nights makes you lacking strength and motivation to resist the sugary food within reach. You are also looking for comfort foods to compensate the bad night feelings, so you reach for chocolate bars, chips or cakes. And you struggle to put the box aside before finishing it. You also succumb more easily to the fast food temptation or the frozen pizza for dinner, just because you don’t feel the energy to cook. When going out, you will be more relentless to give up dessert. Not sleeping enough or bad quality sleep weakens you willpower.

A recent student at the University of Chicago shows that sleep restriction enhances the urge for palatable snacks through the activation of the endocannabinoid system, a cerebral reward mechanism. The study shows that people experiencing lack of sleep will eat around 300 calories more than other people, without realizing it, mainly due to junk food snacks. Sleep deprivation may not only increase your appetite but also make you reach for lipid-rich, high-calorie foods.

Sleep deprivation also weakens your concentration. Your thoughts are more scattered, you are less focused, you stop more often and you tend to fill these breaks with unhealthy snacks.

2- Sleep deprivation makes you feel more hungry

During your sleep, your hormones come back into sync, including your appetite regulatory hormones.

Grehlin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry and promotes fat storage. Based on a cohort study in  Wisconsin, researchers have shown that people sleeping 5 hours per night will secrete 15% more grehlin than those with 8 hours sleep.

To counteract the effect of ghrelin, the hormone leptin brings the feeling of satiety (feeling of having eaten enough). In this same study , participants with 5 hours sleep  15.5% less leptin than those who were sleeping 8  hours a night.

Lack of sleep does not only make you feel hungry. It postpones the moment you will feel full. Hormone imbalances caused by bad sleep make you eat more! The result is that you absorb more calories  when you have not enough sleep.

3- 5 tips to sleep better and feel empowered

  • Adopt a sleep routine (herbal tea, bath, meditation), while you avoid blue light before bed: switch off computers, phones, TV at least 45 minutes before going to bed. During that time, your mind slows down leading to a better quality sleep.
  •  If you wake up at night and struggle to go back to sleep, don’t let anxiety kicks in: start immediately a quiet activity you love, such as breathing exercise or reading a book with a dim light. Be delighted by this quiet time for yourself without any distractions.
  •  Don’t eat too late at night. Have your dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. With digestion, your body temperature increases which may disturb your sleep .
  •  Avoid any electronic appliances in your bedroom, noises and any source of light, even dim light. A slight ray of light may disrupt your sleep. As your eyelids are not hermetically closed during your sleep even a dim light hit your retina  and disrupt your circadian rhythm.
  •  Come back to the ritual of calming herbal tea based on Chamomile Flowers, Valerian Root, Peppermint Leaves or Lemon Balm. Always start to implement slowly.

When you sleep well, you feel happy, energised, creative and ready to be challenged.