Sleep directly affects metabolism. Sleep deprivation causes a drop in Leptin and an increase in Ghrelin.
Leptin is a hormone released by adipose ("fat") tissue that is in charge of telling the brain that you have "had enough." It also increases energy expenditure. On the opposing side, Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite and decreases energy expenditure.
Sleep Deprivation ---> Elevated Leptin + Decreased Ghrelin ---> Overeating without a feeling of satiety ---> Excess calories, decreased expenditure ---> Weight gain
Simple ways to Boost Leptin via Diet:
1. Increase fiber. In basic terms, fiber makes you feel "full."
2. Increase fruit & vegetable intake.
3. Increase intake of essential fatty acids Omega 3s. A high intake of Omega 3s is correlated with low leptin levels. This was found by studying populations whose diet doesn't include fatty fish. Their leptin levels were higher even though their caloric intake was similar to populations that consume fish regularly. Sources of Omega 3s: salmon, mackarel, tuna, trout, flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts & beans.
4. Increase Zinc intake. Zinc is involved in the regulation of Leptin. Food sources: cashews, crab, chickpeas, oysters, lima beans & wheat germ.
5. Limit intake of Omega 6s, found in corn oil, other vegetable oils & non-organic meats.
6. Limit simple starches & refined, processed foods.