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The connection between sleep and obesity & ways to manage it easily

Updated: Jan 28


Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

Sleep plays an important role in the physical functioning and mental well-being of our bodies. Experts mention extra body fat can influence sleep - wake cycles and can cause conditions such as snoring, and insomnia ( where you are unable to sleep ). People who are overweight are seven times more likely to develop OSA ( obstructive sleep apnea), a sleep disorder that causes you to snore and can majorly impact your breathing. You may even have acidity if you are overweight and it can cause heartburn which can disturb your sleep. Sleep loss leads to hormone imbalances in the body which causes overeating and weight gain. Ghrelin and Leptin are hormones that regulate appetite, and when your sleep is deprived, the production of these hormones is modified in a way that produces increased feelings of hunger. Sleep loss is associated with deficiency of growth hormone and increased cortisol levels which are linked to weight gain. Moreover, sleep deprivation has been shown to cause a higher tendency to prefer high-calorie foods which leads to weight gain. Research suggests that insufficient sleep can result in hormonal changes which can disrupt metabolism. It can further lead to insulin resistance which can raise the risk for diabetes and heart diseases. According to the Journal Of Clinical Sleep Medicine, sleeping less than the suggested 7 hours can increase the risks of health conditions such as obesity, depression, heart disorders, etc. According to National Sleep Foundation, it is recommended to sleep for 7 to 9 hours every night to feel productive the next day.

How does sleep affect our weight?


Sleep Graph

Tendency to choose unhealthy foods One study of Japanese workers did find that workers who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to have irregular unhealthy meal plans than those who slept for more than six hours. Insufficient sleep can reduce your decision- making capacity and increase your brain's reaction to food. Hunger levels are increased Insufficient sleep can alter the hormones which control hunger. One study found that young men who did not sleep enough had greater levels of the appetite -stimulating hormone ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety- inducing hormone leptin which resulted in choosing foods rich in carbohydrates. Sleep deprivation can increase your calorie intake by increasing portion size and late-night snacking too. Insufficient sleep could reduce energy expenditure by

Reducing body temperature In one study, individuals who are deprived of sleep saw a drop in their blood temperature which resulted in decreased energy expenditure. Reduced physical activity Studies found that people who slept less tend to spend their time watching television and are not physically active. They tend to get more tired during the day which can have a negative impact on their overall productivity during the day. Getting good sleep can raise your motivation to be effective and contribute to weight loss. Tips to get a healthy sleep Avoid large meals or alcohol 3 hours before bed Avoid consuming caffeinated beverages 4 hours before bed Avoid using electronic devices an hour before bedtime Practice deep breathing exercises, stretches, or listening to some relaxing music Regular exercise can help promote muscle relaxation and can lead to sound sleep Try to set a sleep schedule and maintain it which will help in regulating the body's sleep cycles effectively. Sleeping in a dark room is recommended as exposure to light is linked to an increased risk of weight gain. A study conducted by Northwestern University found that being exposed to blue light raises hunger and insulin resistance which causes increased body fat and risk for diabetes. The light emitted by smartphones, and LEDs disturbs the production of melatonin hormone ( which regulates night and day sleep cycles) causes slow metabolism.


Final Verdict

Good sleep is linked to healthy food choices, less hunger and calorie intake, increased physical activity, and finally weight loss. Getting quality sleep is an essential part of a healthy weight loss plan.

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