Sleep Loss and Obesity
Lack of sleep negatively efftects brain functioning, mood, and cognition. It can compromise then immune system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, and the cardiovascular system. It is also known that sleep loss causes weight gain.
It seems like we are always in motion and that the day just doesn’t have enough hours. Demands are excessive, chores pile up, and we push ourselves to do just a little more.
We drink too much coffee or sugar-free Red Bull to get an energy boost. By the end of the day, we are drained and already know that tomorrow will probably be more of the same. We’ll test the limits and try to overachieve yet again. The recommended eight hours sleep will not be had, and when we wake we won’t be rested. Our better judgment is ignored. We adjust to not getting the sleep we need but not the consequences.
The Less We Sleep, the More We Eat
Studies have found that people who get too little sleep tend to make poor food choices and overeat as well. One study found that people who are sleep deprived can eat as many as 500 additional calories per day.
The study was divided into two groups. One group was woken after only two-thirds of their normal sleeping time. This group consumed about 549 more calories than the group that was allowed to sleep as much as they wanted, suggesting that those who sleep poorly are more susceptible to weight gain over time.
The body repairs itself during sleep, and many important functions occur such as the release of physiological hormones. One of these hormones is leptin, an appetite suppressing hormone released by fat cells in the night. Leptin levels rose in the sleep deprived, although the reason for this increase is not yet understood.
Sleep Loss Causes Weight Gain
What is clear is that sleep deprivation and weight gain are interconnected. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep helps determine how much we eat, how many calories we burn, and when we eat. Eating at the hours when we should be sleeping may increase the possibility for weight gain. In fact, studies have shown that people who work at night and sleep in the day gain more weight than daytime workers.
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