You work out religiously. Your diet is locked down better than an MMA fighter cutting weight for a fight (or so you think.) Your pants are still too tight. Why? One possible and much overlooked reason is lack of proper sleep. Studies show that when you are tired, your frontal lobe loses some of its ability to control impulse actions and exhibits impaired decision making. Your brain also starts looking for rewards to make you feel better. So maybe you indulge just a bit more than you actually think. That doesn’t tell the whole story though. The impact of hormones on weight control is better understood all the time. Leptin tells you when you are full and Ghrelin tells you when to eat. Studies show that a lack of good sleep causes your Ghrelin levels to increase and Leptin levels to decrease. Couple that with an increase in Cortisol (the stress hormone) telling your body to conserve energy and you have a perfect storm for a little more around the middle. Unfortunately, you can’t use this as an excuse to get a cool 10 hours an night though, a study out of Quebec found that people who sleep 5-6 hours or 9-10 hours where 35% and 25% more likely to experience weight gain than the people who slept 7-8 hours. So get a solid 8 hours of sleep and you will be surprised at the benefits.