What is the link between lack of sleep and weight gain? How does sleep affect weight gain? What to do and how to prevent obesity with a few correct tips?
In today’s article, we will find out what is the connection between sleep and weight and why it happens.
Do you often feel like you are missing sleep?
You are definitely not alone. Modern times create pressure on all of us to be constantly alert and focused and ready for action.
This is metaphorical, but also literal, which means that the good sleep of the individual suffers more and more often, and we sleep less during the day.
Relevant health institutions on this topic, such as the US National Institutes of Health, for example, recommend 7-8 hours of sleep in 24 hours.
Research in the United States says that as many as 40% of people sleep less than the recommended time.
3 main reasons for lack of sleep and weight gain
Work responsibilities and everything in between, including the stress they cause, are definitely the leading cause of diminished sleep.
However, there are two additional causes of lack of sleep and weight gain, especially in the younger generation. Those reasons are slowing down / socializing and exposure to smart technology.
Smartphones, laptops, tablets, computers, and all other electronic devices that emit blue light significantly disturb good sleep.
As a result of exposure to such devices just before bedtime, falling asleep is significantly more difficult.
In addition, it is often the case that people spend their sleep time with such devices. Different types of socialization also take time for quality sleep.
These include drinking alcohol, but also various beverages that contain caffeine in its composition.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep offers the body a chance to renew and “rejuvenate” the whole organism.
Without sleep, our body can not function. No matter how much we want to stay awake, in the end we still fall asleep, because the body needs rest.
Almost all of the body’s recovery mechanisms – muscle growth, damaged tissue regeneration, protein synthesis, and growth hormone secretion – take place during sleep.
This would mean that the consequences of disturbed sleep go far beyond ordinary fatigue and weakness during the day.
We can sleep less for a day or two, but then we have to make up for the sleep and rest our body.
Experts say that the consequences of insufficient sleep are in terms of:
- concentration and general mood
- cognitive abilities
- cardiovascular health
- the immune system
- regulation of appetite – the risk of obesity
- impaired libido
- poor skin quality
- impaired memory
The lack of sleep and weight gain
An increasing number of studies are showing consistent results in the relationship between sleep length (shorter sleep periods) and higher body weight index in adults as well as children.
A study from a medical school in Qatar gives us data that suggest that any sleep deprivation is a weight problem.
Studies have shown that less sleep than just 30 minutes increases the risk of obesity and insulin resistance by 17% and 39%, respectively.
A study from the University of Colorado in the United States found that volunteers who did not get enough sleep had poor eating habits, and were more likely to choose unhealthy foods.
Another study found that respondents who did not get enough sleep ate more calories than others. They more often consumed unhealthy foods with saturated fats and sugars.
The question arises: Why is this happening and what is the main reason for this?
Experts believe that this is due to a hormonal imbalance triggered by a disturbed sleep habit.
Insufficient sleep disrupts the levels of ghrelin and leptin, two hormones responsible for regulating hunger and satiety.
Ghrelin is a hormone that sends signals to the brain that it is time to eat. The less we sleep, the more ghrelin our body secretes. Leptin, on the other hand, is a hormone that signals satiety.
So that with disturbed sleep, its levels in the body drop significantly.
Therefore, it is logical to conclude (and research confirms this) that poor sleep habits can significantly increase the risk of gaining weight.
Cortisol is a hormone that affects weight gain
But, unfortunately, there is a disorder in the secretion of another hormone that is associated with weight – cortisol.
This hormone, also called the stress hormone, signals the need for extra energy, which of course comes from food. With insufficient sleep, cortisol secretion experiences peaks or increases.
The more cortisol you have, the more you can eat and gain weight.
Short tips on how you can help yourself sleep better
Tips for better sleep during the day
- Minimize caffeine intake, and do not consume coffee in the afternoon.
- If you are a smoker, work on reducing or quitting smoking.
- Nicotine is a proven factor that affects sleep, it is like a sleep disruptor.
- Expose yourself to daylight during the day.
- If you feel tired, short naps of 20-30 minutes in the first half of the day can be helpful.
- Be moderately physically active!
- But exercise during the day, ie no later than 4 hours before bedtime.
Tips for better sleep during the evening
Do not use alcohol. Alcohol can sometimes help you fall asleep faster and relax.
But alcohol is problematic when it comes to the length of sleep, ie you will wake up much faster. Avoid meals, especially large ones, at night.
Find ways to relax (it could also be a relaxing ritual, such as drinking tea) Do not lie in bed for more than 15 minutes if you cannot fall asleep.
Try to go to bed at the same time every night, also on weekends. Because the body gets used to the time when you go to bed, which is a good habit.
The best time to sleep is from 10 pm to 6 am. Bright home lighting is not a smart choice in the evening, and it can bother you when you want to fall asleep.
Sleep and weight gain are closely linked. The less we sleep, the better our chances of gaining weight.
Insufficient sleep causes more secretion of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that sends signals to the brain when to consume food.
The less we sleep, the more ghrelin our body secretes. Leptin, on the other hand, is a hormone that signals satiety. So that with disturbed sleep, its levels in the body decrease.
Physical activity during the day, less alcohol before bed, less caffeine in the evening affect the improvement of sleep. In any case, our sleep should be 7-8 hours every day.
Normal and healthy sleep is a condition for resting the body and reducing the chances of gaining weight.